Upset with the university’s lack of a vaccination mandate, more than 250 Pennsylvania State University faculty said they would continue teaching remotely.
While the university has announced ventilation upgrades, indoor mask mandates, and weekly testing, many faculty are unsatisfied with the school’s refusal to institute a vaccine mandate.
Hundreds of Penn State faculty organized a Zoom-In protest to pressure the administration to mandate vaccination for everyone at the university.
“Right now almost 300 faculty are confirmed as planning to zoom in, more are intending to participate, and a couple hundred more will be participating in solidarity actions,” said Valerie Braman, spokeswoman for Coalition for a Just University — the faculty-based group organizing the Zoom-In.
‘The Danger is Real’
The protest is the latest in a series of statements and letters written by Penn State instructors expressing concern about the university’s plans.
Multiple rallies in front of Old Main (the university’s main building), letters by local student governments, and faculty op-eds in The Atlantic and StateCollege.com have proved futile.
“The danger (of the Delta variant) is real and the disruption to our society is real,” Penn State engineering professor and fellow Zoom-In participant Jesse Barlow told Centre Daily Times. “We have to fight it with everything we got.”
Penn State Reaction
The university has made it clear that anyone who participates in the Zoom-In protest could face disciplinary action.
Anxious parents are also in favor of in-person classes and have encouraged faculty to “reconsider their position,” university spokesperson Wyatt Dubois stated.
Clarifying the university’s stance on vaccinations, Penn State President Eric Barron said that while the university would not mandate vaccines, it is “not impartial to them.”