UM warns it will suspend and then fire vaccine holdouts on staff, faculty

October 26, 2021, 7:22 PM

A strict vaccination compliance policy for University of Michigan non-teaching employees starts in two weeks. The same rules apply to faculty members Dec. 19, when the fall semester ends.

All staffers must have at least their first Covid shot by Nov. 8, unless a medical or religious exemption was approved. Those who don't will be suspended without pay for 30 days and will fired Dec. 8 if still unvaccinated, according to a warning in The University Record newsletter.

Only a few hundred employees are believed not to be in compliance. The large majority of them are temporary staff.

Professors and instructors in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint have until December final exams to obey the health safety mandate before being placed on a 30-day unpaid leave. Any who decline to be vaccinated by the end of their leave "will be subject to the applicable dismissal process," says Monday's statement from Nick Kaleba, a human resources administrator.

A U-M dashboard for the Ann Arbor campus shows that 97% of students, 97% of faculty and 89% of staff are fully vaccinated.

The new deadlines raise the stakes for vaccine resisters. Faculty and staff who hadn't complied by Aug. 30 became ineligible for 2022 merit raises, a university spokeswoman tells The Michigan Daily.

(Photo: University of Michigan)

Separately, U-M posts Tuesday that "employee Covid-19 case counts remain at an elevated level, while the rate of new cases among the student population is maintaining a lower-level plateau."

The human resources advisory, which says the policy's goal is "to protect students, faculty and staff from Covid-19 infection," reminds staff members with vaccine exemptions they they need weekly Covid tests. Noncompliance would bring an unpaid suspension and "progressive discipline leading to termination.”

Employees working entirely remotely also must be vaccinated or qualify for an exemption, though they needn't get weekly tests.

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