University of Mississippi halts vaccine mandate for employees

Published 9:39 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce announced on Wednesday the university is suspending efforts requiring employees to be vaccinated following a nationwide injunction, but the vaccination mandate for those in an institutional clinical setting remains.

On October 29, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia asking for a preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of the vaccine mandate.  

“We are filing suit against the Biden administration in response to the government mandate placed on Georgia’s federal contractors,” said Carr in a press release. “We will challenge this heavy-handed directive that not only serves as a clear violation of law but also places immense burden on our state. Just as we believe in protecting the physical health and well-being of our fellow Georgians, we are equally dedicated to protecting them from the unlawful actions of the federal government.”

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The injunction was granted by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia on Tuesday and has since put a halt to the Biden administration’s executive order.

The Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning gave university leaders the authority to follow the federal government’s executive order and related guidance as long as the order was not stayed, delayed or revoked, but since the executive order was stayed, the university is halting its efforts.

The mandate regarding employees working in institutional settings was passed under another board, so it will still be in effect.

In the message, Boyce thanks all the faculty, staff and student employees who were vaccinated and appreciates those who acted quickly under the mandate.

“Our community mobilized quickly in response to the mandate, and I appreciate the commitment shown by thousands of employees to respond,” he said. “The university committee reviewing all pending requests for accommodation will put those requests on hold unless and until the mandate is reinstated.”

The university will continue to monitor any future developments regarding the mandate, including any appeal of the Georgia decisions and other related court cases.

“As courts make their rulings, this situation could change,” said Boyce. “If the mandate is reinstated by a court, we will adjust our efforts accordingly.”

Boyce said that the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine are apparent and he hopes everyone chooses to prioritize the health of themselves and their loved ones as we get closer to the holiday season.