Over 500 colleges and universities will require students to be vaccinated before showing up on campus this fall. But not the University of Wisconsin. That has to change.
Marquette, the state’s largest private school, joined Beloit College and Lawrence University yesterday. Nationwide, the list is growing fast. In April, only about a dozen schools were requiring vaccinations and the list, now at 500, has grown by 100 in just the last week.
Five out of the Big Ten’s 14 schools will require vaccinations, including the University of Indiana system in one the deepest red states in America. And yet, the UW, once thought of as among the most progressive schools in the nation, is only encouraging its students and staff to get vaxed. They hope for a system-wide vax rate of 70%.
Incredibly, legislative Republicans are debating a bill that would prohibit the UW and state tech schools from not only requiring vaccinations, but even from requiring testing for COVID. While Gov. Tony Evers would, no doubt, veto such a bill, it’s just another example of how out of touch with reality the GOP has become.
Wait. Check that. The problem with the Republicans is not that they’re out of touch with reality so much as they are too in touch with the demands of the most unhinged elements of their reality-denying base.
Look, it’s pretty simple. Vaccinations against COVID 19 have proven safe and incredibly effective. College campuses are places, that by nature, include a lot of close interactions among a lot of people and those people then interact with the rest of the community, and when their students head home, with the rest of the world. Moreover, campuses are supposed to be places that respect reason and science.
The UW, once a great institution of higher learning, is refusing to require vaccinations for its students and staff, while the Legislature, once one of the most forward-looking in the country, debates actually prohibiting them from doing it in the fist place.
It’s the Dark Ages in Wisconsin.