University of Hawaii on the fence about coronavirus vaccination requirements


HONOLULU (KHON2) — A number of mainland universities are requiring students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for access to their campuses.

Should the University of Hawaii (UH) also make it mandatory?

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Hawaii universities are still undecided about vaccination requirements with less than four months until the fall semester begins.

“About 50 universities, that’s still a minority, but it’s a growing number around the country have announced their intent to require vaccinations by fall,” UH President David Lassner said.

He explained that UH is still looking at the legal implications.

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) said in a statement:
“Although we believe that COVID-19 vaccinations are a matter of individual choice, mandating such vaccinations on public employees as a term and condition of continued employment would require negotiations and mutual consent since it will impact mandatory subjects of bargaining under the law. While we have taken no position on the matter, we look forward to engaging in discussions and dialogue with the Employer if such a requirement is to be considered.”

Lassner said, they discussing what it would look like if they did mandate it.

“If we move in that direction, who would it apply to?” asked Lassner. “For example: maybe just for students who live residence halls, maybe student-athletes, or all students, all faculty and staff.”

Feedback from those on campus was mixed.

UH student Dario Arizala from Equador said he thinks it should be required.

“I think because being fully vaccinated is going to stop the spread of the virus and create a safer environment for all of us and we’re going to be able to work safely,” Arizala said. “So I think, yes.”

Angela Santos Arredondo was visiting the UH Manoa campus from California. Santos Arredondo said she is vaccinated but does not think it should be a requirement.

“We do live in the United States of America and we do have the right of choice and free will,” Santos Arredondo said. “So if students don’t feel comfortable putting something in their body they shouldn’t.”

Lucas Frazier from Colorado said he was accepted to both UH Manoa and American University in Washington D.C. that just announced vaccination requirements.

Frazier said, he is not phased by the new rule but thinks the requirement could turn other students off.

“If they’re going to force them to get the vaccination and they don’t really feel comfortable getting the vaccination. I can see them potentially looking at other options,” Frazier explained.

Representatives from both BYU-Hawaii and Chaminade University confirmed that they are encouraging students and faculty to get vaccinated but have not made it a requirement.

A UH spokesperson said they will notify the 10 UH campuses as soon as a decision is made.

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