OU expands vaccine mandate to include all who learn and work on campus


Noora Neiroukh

Some of the Moderna vaccine made available by the OU administration. The university’s is now mandating vaccination for the campus community.

In a letter from President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz released this afternoon, Oakland University announced that all students and employees on campus are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The new policy requires all planning to be on campus receive their first shot by Friday, Sept. 3 and their second shot for Moderna and Pfizer by Friday, October 1. All campus community members must now upload their vaccination status to the Graham Health Center patient portal.

The announcement effectively expands the vaccine mandate from residents only to all who will be coming to campus for the fall semester. The change in the university’s stance on a vaccine mandate comes on the heels of rising COVID-19 cases, as well as a surge in the highly-infectious Delta Variant. According to the letter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granting full approval of the Pfizer vaccine also influenced the decision.

“In light of the fact that COVID-19 infection rates are rising rapidly across the country and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, we have decided to expand the university’s existing vaccination mandate for resident students,” Pescovitz said.

Pescovitz noted precedents of other state universities taking this step, as well as national public health organizations like the American Heart Organization’s support of vaccine mandates. She recognized the community’s efforts in containing the pandemic, but acknowledged that more still needs to be done.

“I am so very proud of how the Oakland University community has weathered the past 18 months of the COVID pandemic,” Pescovitz said. “It is a tribute to your individual and our community’s collective perseverance, determination and resilience. But, unfortunately, the national and international health crisis is not over.”

Pescovitz recognized that some in the campus community will disagree with this decision. She shared the recent loss of her father, and described how his life has inspired her belief in the campus community to come together and meet this moment.

“My father died last week. In his long life, he fought many battles – some he won and some he lost. I observed him fight these enormous battles and I watched him as he treated every person with honor, respect and integrity, even when their disagreements were fierce,” Pescovitz said. “I suggest you do the same. It is important that you listen and speak to one another respectfully.”

According to the letter, in accordance with this mandate, the university has begun expanding options for remote-instruction by increasing the number of online courses.