On requiring vaccinations against COVID-19 of all LSU students, little needs to be added to your clear editorial and accompanying commentaries by Mark Ballard, James Gill and Will Sutton in the Aug. 1 newspaper. Over 630 colleges and universities, public and private, in the U.S. require vaccinations. Lawsuits and legal objections have been addressed and dismissed by courts and a July 6 U.S. Department of Justice memo.
A new president-chancellor is in his strongest position to act in the initial days in office, weighing advice from various sectors, including from faculty, medical and public health professionals locally and in the country at large, law professors from Tulane that you cite and at LSU’s own Law School. Let us not allow narrow, untested legal advice to the contrary be the trump card.
I recall as a similar issue the opposition within the state when LSU instituted admission standards many years ago. Many in schools, parents and school administrators, were opposed but Chancellor James Wharton, recently deceased, went ahead. LSU adopted and educated schools across the state on those requirements to prepare their graduates for successful admission.
Many high schools were pulled up by the lead that LSU gave at that time. That value is now recognized.
Faced now with an unprecedented pandemic that kills and maims, including in the age range of college students, LSU should set an example, even provide leadership, to the state. As the A&M college and flagship university, it even owes this. It was set up for research and education for the good and well-being of the citizens. Nonsensical claims and threats from the attorney general or other legal counsel should be challenged, not acquiesced to. Some of that counsel has not served LSU well as we have seen in the Title IX scandal.