Petition for Safe NSHE Campuses
This is an open petition by faculty, staff, students, and family members of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), sponsored by the Nevada Faculty Alliance (www.NevadaFacultyAlliance.org).
PETITION TO Governor Sisolak, NSHE Chancellor Rose, Presidents Helens (GBC), Hilgersom (TMCC), Pollard (NSC), Sandoval (UNR), Whitfield (UNLV), and Zaragoza (CSN), Officer-in-Charge Dalpe (WNC), and members of the Legislative Commission of the 81st Legislature of the State of Nevada, the NSHE Board of Regents, the Nevada State Board of Health, and the NSHE COVID-19 Task Force:
● BECAUSE the shared goals of students, faculty, and staff of NSHE colleges and universities are to teach in person in a safe manner and to avoid another transition to remote instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
● BECAUSE in August 2021 the Board of Health issued an emergency regulation to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for students registering for Spring 2022 classes; and subsequently the Board of Regents of the state of Nevada approved mandatory vaccinations for all NSHE employees as a condition of continued employment after December 31, 2021;
● BECAUSE on December 21, 2021, the Legislative Commission failed by a 6–6 vote to approve the Board of Health’s permanent regulation on vaccinations as a requirement for student attendance at NSHE institutions and thus allowed the student COVID-19 vaccination mandate to expire;
● BECAUSE widespread vaccination is the most effective way to prevent serious illness and death and to reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and because the available vaccines are remarkably safe and effective against all current variants, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which has received full FDA approval (bit.ly/3enwNM9) and is thus no longer experimental;
● BECAUSE NSHE university students have long been required to show proof of immunization for other infectious diseases (with medical and religious exemptions), and, additionally, NSHE students who are not vaccinated are able to register for online or remote classes;
● BECAUSE 1,125 universities and colleges nationally as of 12/22/2021 (bit.ly/32nGxDR) are requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for students and/or employees, many requiring boosters and robust testing protocols;
● AND BECAUSE we are outraged that six legislators on the Legislative Commission put political considerations ahead of the sound advice of medical experts and ignored the clear statutory authority of the Board of Health over public health regulations, and have put the health and safety of NSHE students, faculty, and staff at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and have made our campuses less safe as workplaces and for in-person instruction.
Therefore, WE, the undersigned faculty, staff, students, and family members of the Nevada System of Higher Education:
● DEMAND that the student vaccination mandate be immediately reinstated for Spring 2022 classes, under the emergency powers of the Governor if necessary, following the advice of the Board of Health of the state of Nevada and the Governor’s medical team;
● DEMAND that the Legislative Commission reconvene to vote to accept the authority and the public health recommendations of the Board of Health in the interests of the increased health and safety of our NSHE campuses and the health and safety of the greater community of our state;
● DEMAND that the Board of Regents independently adopt the recommendations of the NSHE COVID-19 Task Force and the Board of Health to require vaccinations of all NSHE employees and of all NSHE students taking in-person classes (with allowances for medical and religious exemptions), and that the Board of Regents allow the colleges and universities to take all other appropriate public health measures;
● AND DEMAND that the Chancellor and Presidents implement strong, science-based measures against infection from COVID-19—including free surveillance and diagnostic testing, face-coverings, and permitting remote or online instruction and work—and that these measures be continued until the community risk from COVID-19 has been deemed by public health authorities to have subsided.
View signature list at https://forms.gle/7rnBaLasT1Ztu7Mc8