‘It should be a choice’: Debate over vaccine mandate divides YSU professors

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – YSU has a mask mandate in place but no mandates on vaccines. The debate of a possible mandate is a divisive issue.

First News has been tracking YSU’s COVID policies since before students returned to campus.

On the day the campus-wide mask mandate went into effect, students were split on the issue, as are faculty on the issue of mandating vaccines now.

“A lot of the faculty were interested in a vaccine mandate and my opinion is that it should be a choice whether you get it or not,” said Mike Costarell, professor of mechanical engineering technology.

Costarell says he’s had hundreds of students, faculty and staff tell him they want the vaccine to be optional.

“Other people from the other unions on campus — 50% of them don’t want it, so I don’t really think this is a faculty get to decide type of argument,” he said.

But several people at the academic senate meeting both in person and virtually disagree.

“Social distancing, masks are very helpful but not as good as vaccinations,” said Matt O’Mansky, associate professor of anthropology.

O’Mansky is on the academic senate and says he wants the vaccine to be mandatory.

“As the virus mutates, we have less and less resistance to the new variants of it, and the only way to get ahead of it is to mandate vaccinations,” he said.

Still, opponents to the mandate have the same message: my body, my choice.

“In political terms, you have to get your message down to four words. I said let’s do vaccine, yes, but mandate, no. It should be your choice what to do with your medical conditions,” Costarell said.

As of now, YSU has not put any kind of vaccine mandate in place on campus.

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