COVID-19 Justice

WMU unions, students protest COVID measures

Protesters called on the university to do more to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Students and members of four unions representing university employees gathered outside Western Michigan University’s Sangren Hall Wednesday afternoon. Their goal: To push administrators to do more to protect them from the coronavirus.

“It’s impossible to remain six feet apart. It’s impossible to remain more than two feet apart. It is impossible to stop the spread of COVID in those conditions,” teaching assistant Morgan Peltier told WMUK.

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The gathering was organized by members of the American Association of University Professors, the Teaching Assistants’ Union, the Professional Instructors Organization, and AFSCME Local 1668. They say many in-person classes are too crowded to ensure adequate space between people.

They also want the university to invest in more safety equipment and revise its COVID badge system.

People who are not vaccinated are required to be tested once per week and given a green “badge” on their smartphone if they’re approved to go to class. Protesters say the badge system is lax and lets people go to class before test results come in.

COVID-19 infections have risen predictably since the beginning of the school year. As of last Friday, the university was averaging about 65 new infections per day with a positivity rate of 2%.


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