Mask and vaccine mandates are controversial, but the controversy did not deter many colleges and universities from imposing a mask mandate, vaccine mandate, or both, for the 2021-2022 school year. Ivy League universities, public and private universities, and Christian institutions responded much differently to whether to impose one of the mandates or both mandates, which confused parents and students alike.
Christian universities, for the most part, have chosen not to require vaccines or masks for students. So far, the list of non-mandate universities is as follows: Bob Jones University (South Carolina), Colorado Christian University, Grand Canyon University (Arizona), Liberty University (Virginia), Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oral Roberts University (Oklahoma), and the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio).
Pepperdine University (California) and Thomas More College (Kentucky) are the few Christian universities which require both a vaccine and mask-wearing for the school year.
It is interesting to note that the majority of Christian institutions which do not require a vaccine or mask-wearing are located in politically-red states where Republicans hold the governor’s mansion and majority in state legislatures. However, Thomas More College is a rare exception. Pepperdine University, located in Malibu, California, likely imposed these mandates to comply with onerous rules from the Democratic Party-run government in Sacramento and Los Angeles County.
Catholic institutions had varying mandates for students. Notre Dame University (Indiana) and Saint Joseph’s University (Pennsylvania), Catholic University (Washington, D.C.) required vaccines, but no masks. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Sacred Heart University (Texas), Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.), Boston College (Massachusetts), Villanova University (Pennsylvania), Marquette University (Wisconsin), and Gonzaga University (Washington) required vaccines and masks for students.
Also, in the mix of private institutions, are Brigham Young University (Utah), Duke University (North Carolina), Northwestern University (Illinois), and Stanford University (California). BYU only required mask-wearing for its students, while Duke University, Northwestern University, and Stanford University required vaccines and mask-wearing for its students.
One prominent private conservative colleges, Hillsdale College (Michigan), does not require vaccines or masks for students. Although Michigan has a Democratic governor, the state legislature has a Republican majority, which could explain Hillsdale’s lack of mandates. Contrast Hillsdale’s policy to Grove City College (Pennsylvania), which requires masks to be worn.
To contrast these institutions, the Ivy League chose to impose mandates for both vaccines and mask-wearing. For example, Harvard University (Massachusetts), Yale University (Connecticut), Columbia University (New York), and Princeton University (New Jersey) require both vaccines and mask-wearing for its students. Note that their state governments are politically-blue and run by Democratic officials.
Historical black colleges and universities (HBCU’s) responded differently, with Howard University (Washington, D.C.) and Morehouse College (Georgia) requiring vaccines and masks yet Tuskegee University (Alabama), Southern University (Louisiana), and Grambling State (Louisiana) did not require either for their students. Considering that the black American population has been hesitant to get vaccinated, the lack of vaccine mandates makes sense to avoid alienating students and alumni.
Flagship public universities heavily depend on state decisions in order to have the political willpower to enforce vaccine and mask mandates. Texas universities, such as the University of Texas system, Texas Tech University, and Texas A&M University, do not require vaccines or masks.
It is trickier in other politically-red states in the Deep South, compared to Texas. The University of Georgia echoed Texas by not requiring vaccines or masks, but the University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, and the University of Florida require masks but not vaccines. Florida State University, an in-state sports rival of University of Florida, did not require either vaccines or masks for its students.
In the Hoosier State, Indiana University required vaccines, but no masks, for its students. This measure is currently being argued in the courts over its legality.
On the other hand, the University of California-Berkeley requires both vaccines and masks, as do the University of Michigan, Michigan State University. University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Washington, University of Oregon, Louisiana State University, and Ohio State University. Of these states, only Ohio has a Republican governor, while the rest have Democratic governors who are among the strongest pro-mandate politicians, whether or not they abide by them personally.
Overall, the majority of Christian institutions declined to impose vaccine and mask mandates for their students, regardless of which state they were located in. It is important to compare the likes of Liberty University to the strict restrictions at Ivy League schools, several flagship public universities, HBCU’s, and several Catholic universities, to gain a comprehensive view of how fear ruled the day among many higher education institutions.
Also, the institutions which imposed either one mandate or both mandates used semantics to lighten the appearance. For example, many institutions called vaccine or mask mandates “requirements,” which portrays the mandates as a matter of legal compliance.
The data and science prove that the coronavirus is less deadly for college-aged students, despite the mainstream media’s misleading claims. The institutions which resisted the pandemic paranoia and fear-mongering may have more common sense or a grasp of statistics and science than their fearful counterparts.
Editor’s Note: We corrected previous information that stated Grove City College did not mandate masks or vaccines to reflect its recently-imposed mask mandate. Also, we updated Franciscan University of Steubenville’s information to reflect that it does not have a mask or vaccine mandate in place.