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SGA leaders explain resolution calling for a campus vaccine mandate

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SGA leaders explain resolution calling for a campus vaccine mandate

NEW WILMINGTON, PA.- On September 29, Student Government Organization (SGA) unanimously passed a resolution urging the Board of Trustees to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all students, faculty, and staff. SGA’s resolution supports a similar call that the faculty presented to the Board in mid-September. Slate Pollio council members Emma Neel ’23 (Academic Chair) and Mitchel Henderson ’22 (Treasurer) share SGA’s intentions behind writing the resolution and its production process.   

Neel says that Slate Pollio felt obligated to present a stance on the faculty resolution as elected officials for the student body. She explains that SGA passed their resolution out of concern for the safety of the Westminster community. “The main purpose of the resolution was to…call upon the Westminster College Board of Trustees to vote and pass this vaccine mandate for the protection of the student body, faculty, and staff,” Neel says. “We [considered] all different parties on campus and believe that [a vaccine mandate] would protect [the community as they] circulate through different classes, clubs, sporting events, etc., every single day.”  

Henderson reminds the community of SGA’s main virtue of governance and shares that SGA primarily addresses student concerns. He says that over the past few years, SGA has “reworked our constitution and re-planned our Senate to represent Westminster better. With this in mind, we have tackled more controversial topics and worked with Administration to address [all] the concerns that students have.”   

Henderson understands that COVID-19 is a primary concern for students, faculty, and staff alike and acknowledges the differing opinions on the topic. “We have finally gotten to the point where we have an avenue to put this thing behind us: the vaccine. Without getting shots in arms, we will continue to be in this state of limbo…We understand that not all students support [a vaccine mandate], but the elected representatives of campus do.”  

The council members also explain the detailed steps that SGA took to conceive and finalize the resolution. Neel shares that once SGA decided to create a resolution supporting faculty, they had a week to produce a first draft. Slate Pollio drafted a resolution, which they then presented to the organization’s Senators for revisions. Once the Senators asked questions about the draft and made revisions, SGA unanimously passed the resolution.   

Henderson describes the drafting and revision processes in detail, saying, “we went through language and did research on other institutions that do mandate the vaccine. Once the resolution was drafted and approved by the Executive council, we proposed it to the Senate. The Senate made two small wording changes, and the resolution was passed unanimously. Every member present voted to approve this resolution, which should not be overlooked. The Senate made an important but difficult decision to protect every member of the Westminster community.”   

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