UI Faculty Council votes to endorse CLAS COVID-19 statement

The University of Iowa Faculty Council voted to endorse the statement calling for stricter COVID-19 mitigation measures Tuesday.


Bing Lovan

A University of Iowa faculty council meeting is held at the University Capitol Centre in the Old Capitol Mall on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021.

Kate Perez, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Faculty Council had its first public meeting of the academic year, where the council voted to endorse the College of Liberal Arts and Science’s statement, released on Aug. 29, calling for stronger COVID-19 mitigation measures at the university.

Along with the vote to endorse the college’s statement, the council also discussed bringing the idea of endorsing the statement to the Faculty Senate meeting on Sep. 14.

Associate Professor in Counseling Psychology Martin Kivlighan said he has heard from his colleagues that students are choosing to ignore their professors’ pleas to wear masks.

“In my 150 [student] undergraduate class, I’d say probably 30 of them wear a mask,” Kivilghan said.

Other representatives chimed in regarding mask usage, including English Professor Jennifer Buckley. Buckley said the mask usage response from her classes was 100 percent compliance, while in her graduate teacher’s assistant classes they are facing backlash.

“What the graduate school leaders are seeing is a difference in masking compliance, and an outright resistance,” Buckley said. “They’re frightened, and I’d really like to see faculty across the colleges find a way to support our most vulnerable instructors, especially our graduate instructors.”

Nicole Nisly, professor of internal medicine, urged her colleagues to encourage the students to remember they are helping themselves.

“We have to be on the right side of history, we have to protect our students,” Nisly said. “They are young and we have to encourage them to do the right thing.”

Associate Professor of Practice of Accounting Kay Hegarty proposed a plan of bi-weekly COVID-19 testing to address ways the Council can promote more COVID-19 safety on campus.

Past Faculty Council President Joseph Yockey also proposed the idea to require a health fee for those who come to campus and are not vaccinated.

Faculty Senate President Teresa Marshall said in an email to The Daily Iowan that the council won’t send the online poll to vote for the endorsement until tomorrow.

The next Faculty Council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 12.