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WUWM's Emily Files reports on education in southeastern Wisconsin.

Marquette Requires Students To Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

A sign encourages COVID precautions on Marquette University's campus.
Emily Files
A sign encourages COVID-19 precautions on Marquette University's campus.

Wisconsin’s largest private university is requiring students attending in-person classes this fall to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by August 1.

Marquette University President Michael Lovell made the announcement via email Monday.

"A vaccinated student population will allow us to provide you with a richer in-person experience, reduce testing and let you interact more freely across campus," reads Lovell's statement.

Marquette follows the lead of dozens of colleges and universities across the U.S. including Harvard, Yale and Northwestern.

WUWM's Emily Files talks with Lake Effect's Audrey Nowakowski about Marquette University’s vaccination requirement.

Marquette English professor Brittany Pladek is relieved by the vaccine requirement.

"I think this is the right choice," says Pladek. "I think it is the only choice that’s going to allow our students to have a safe and healthy and productive year. I am very happy with Marquette’s decision."

Sarah Kizuk, a graduate student in the philosophy department, says the vaccination requirement makes her feel better about teaching in-person. Kizuk is a member of the Marquette Academic Workers Union, which advocates for graduate students and non-tenured faculty.

"We all pretty much welcome Marquette’s decision to require COVID vaccination for students and we all hope that is get extended to faculty and staff," says Kizuk. "Doing so I think really puts the wellbeing of Marquette’s workers and students where it belongs, which is at the forefront of decisions...which isn't something we saw all year."

The Academic Workers Union was critical of Marquette leaders’ decision to hold 60% of classes in-person last fall, as well as their decision to end the school’s mask mandate last week.

Marquette did not make administrators available for interviews for this story.

Two other private universities in Wisconsin have announced vaccine requirements: Beloit College and Lawrence University. The University of Wisconsin System is not planning to mandate vaccination, but is strongly encouraging it, including by dropping the surveillance testing requirement for vaccinated students.

"We will continue to mount a very aggressive campaign to convince people that vaccination is truly the most effective tool we have to get to where we want to be," said UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson at a Board of Regents meeting last week. "Get a shot, people."

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Emily is WUWM's educational reporter.
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