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UM System will comply with federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, allowing for exemptions

  

The University of Missouri Board of Curators adopted a resolution vowing to comply with federal vaccine mandates for contractors, noting it would be no longer be applicable should the directive be rescinded. 

The resolution passed in a 7-1 vote with one abstention. It covers University of Missouri (UM) faculty, staff, and student employees who fall under the Biden administration’s executive order mandating the implementation of COVID-19 vaccinations and policies for federal contractors. 

Exemptions to the mandate will be allowed for medical or religious reasons as well as if the university can determine a lack of interaction with covered employees, UM System president, Dr. Mun Choi, said during Thursday’s board meeting. This provision is in line with Gov. Mike Parson’s own executive order

Jeffrey Layman was the lone vote against the resolution, and Todd Graves abstained from the vote. 

“I understand why we’re doing it. It’s important for the university. I would never want to do anything that would impair the university,” Graves said. “I think it’s a gross overreach of the authority of the office of the [U.S.] president, and I’m not going to help him with it, but I’m also not going to hurt the university.”

Exemptions to the mandate will be allowed for medical or religious reasons as well as if the university can determine a lack of interaction with covered employees, UM System president, Dr. Mun Choi, said.

Choi said policies will be developed over the next few weeks, with input from the board, to determine how employees can receive an exemption. The deadline to comply with the federal mandate is Jan. 4. 

The Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine directives are being challenged in court. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit specifically targeting the executive order regarding federal contractors in late October. 

Board members noted if the mandate was rescinded or struck down, the resolution would become moot. 

Also during Thursday’s meeting, Darryl Chatman was selected by his fellow board members to continue serving as chair and Greg Hoberock as vice-chair.