ATLANTA (NewsNation Now) — COVID-19 guidelines at public universities in Georgia are described by some as lax and faculty members across the state aren’t happy about it.
At least 17 colleges and universities in Georgia have had a weeklong series of protests, which are sponsored by Georgia’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
Faculty members are calling on the University System of Georgia to enact stricter COVID-19 guidelines — specifically demanding mask mandates at all Georgia state-funded universities.
Several universities across the state, including the University of Georgia, participated in demonstrations Tuesday morning. At UGA, a couple of dozen people showed up in support of stricter guidelines, while there was also a small group of counterprotesters.
The university system told instructors it can’t require students to wear masks, it can only suggest it. Adding to what’s happening across the country, frustrated college faculty are reaching a breaking point — furious about being forced to teach in person on campuses where COVID-19 regulations are nonexistent or barely enforced.
Less than 50% of the state’s population is vaccinated. Meanwhile, hospital systems are stretched thin — many either at capacity or over — and some university faculty members, like University of Georiga professor Dr. Jane Frick, are fed up.
“You know, it’s embarrassing that our campuses are not following the CDC recommendations and not following best practices that other universities are doing,” said Frick, who’s also a protest organizer. “You know, it’s not the type of leadership that we want to be showing.”
However, some students, on the other hand, are split on this debate.
“I think its fair of them to ask and they’re putting their lives and families at risk,” said Evelyn Gardolinski, a Georgia Institute of Technology student. “I think that wearing a mask isn’t a hard thing to do.”
“I don’t think they should be mandated at all; if you don’t wanna wear it, you shouldn’t have to wear it,” said Georgia Tech student Sadie Frame.