In late August, the University of New Mexico publicly announced that all students, staff and faculty accessing University facilities would be required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30, with two exceptions: medical necessity and sincere religious belief. What the UNM administration failed to tell the public was that there was a third exception to the vaccine mandate: high school students attending UNM classes.
The UNM administration has informed the United Academics of the University of New Mexico’s bargaining team that it is too complicated to require high school students to be vaccinated. Yet, according to the Las Cruces Sun News, “All high school students taking dual-credit classes at New Mexico State University and its community college system will (be required) to submit a proof of vaccination or weekly negative testing results.” Likewise, the Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) requires that all high school students taking CNM courses be vaccinated.
The administration constantly reminds our branch campus colleagues to treat their high school students as they would any other group of college students. Why can’t the administration follow its own advice and require high school students taking UNM classes be vaccinated just as UNM students are required to be vaccinated?
The UNM administration’s failure to solve this “complicated” problem endangers the health and safety of our members, especially those at UNM-Gallup and their students.
It is time for the UNM administration to publicly explain why NMSU and CNM can solve this “complicated” problem while the UNM administration cannot.
Ernesto A. Longa is the President of the United Academics of the University of New Mexico