Protests for mask mandate continue


Eden Hodges, Editor-in-Chief

Professors returned to campus for day two of protests Tuesday, calling for the University System of Georgia to bring a mask mandate back to classrooms.

“As cases right before school started increasing, we expected the USG would just come through and keep our workplaces safe, but they didn’t,” said Michelle Haberland president of Georgia Southern’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). “[This] is something they could do with a stroke of a pen.”

19 other schools in Georgia planned similar week-long protests calling for more robust COVID-19 protocols and flexibility in teaching their classes.

“Last Friday a student reached out to me to say she had to miss to help her family pull the plug on her father,” said Michael Nielsen. “We can do better than this. Taking small steps makes a big difference.”

The power to mandate masks and vaccines on campuses all across Georgia lies in the hands of the USG which has echoed decisions made by Gov. Brian Kemp and the State of Georgia.

“We continue to be in alignment with the governor’s expectations and requirements for state agencies through this pandemic,” said USG Chancellor Theresa McCartney in a Board of Regents meeting Thursday. “Expectations have been made clear since before the semester started. It should be no surprise. There are consequences for those not following through and doing their jobs.”

Meanwhile, Statesboro’s hospital has more people on ventilators than ever before and intensive care units chock-full of patients, according to the Statesboro Herald.

“ICU beds continue to be at capacity at EGRMC, as is the case for our entire region,” Stephen Pennington, CEO for East Georgia Regional told the Statesboro Herald. “We anticipate the demand for ICU beds to continue to be a challenge through at least the rest of September.”

The George-Anne sent requests for university comment to Jennifer Wise director of communications on Friday, Monday and Tuesday and has not yet received a response.

As for a counter-protest like seen on UGA’s campus, Haberland doesn’t anticipate any, “If so, we welcome the dialogue.”