Purdue Senate discusses vaccines, menstruation products in men's rooms, SAT/ACT flexibility

A small group of Purdue students, faculty and staff say they don't want to get the vaccine. And one Senate committee wants to build off the momentum of Purdue offering free feminine hygiene products in its women and gender neutral bathrooms.

Posted: Mar 22, 2021 5:35 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Purdue University Senate discussed a long list of resolutions at its March meeting on Monday. However, before they began those resolutions, President Mitch Daniels gave an update regarding vaccination on campus.

While the majority of students, faculty and staff are planning to get their vaccine, some are not. 4.5% of faculty, 9.5% of students and 11.2% of staff surveyed said they are not planning on getting the vaccine. The two highest reasons given for this decision are distrust with the vaccine, and feeling they don't need it.

President Daniels said they are discussing incentivizing options, such as determining admission into events based on having the vaccine and creating an excused sick pass from class for those who are worried about having any post-vaccine symptoms.

The Senate passed a resolution advocating for child care on campus. As we previously reported, Purdue families fought back when the university announced that the Patty Jischke Early Care and Education Center would close and that no replacement option would take its place. The university quickly pivoted from this decision and decided to keep the center open for now.

Those in favor of the resolution said that having accessible child care benefits everyone on campus, helps to attract and retain faculty, staff and students, and that they want Purdue to be a leader in providing quality benefits to the people it serves. 

The Senate then brought up a resolution for discussion that would support putting free menstruation products in men's restrooms on Purdue's campus. As we previously reported, the university moved to put free products in women's and gender neutral bathrooms in February of 2020. 

Authors of the resolution said putting these products in the men's rooms would support transgender men on campus who still need these products. And they pointed out that several other higher education institutions have already moved to do this, including the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Brown University. This resolution will be voted on at the Senate's April meeting.

Several other resolutions discussed that will be up for vote in April include a move to continue the test-flexible admissions policy at Purdue. Many higher education institutions made having an SAT or ACT score optional during the past admissions cycle. This because the pandemic made it impossible to safely administer the tests in high schools.

This resolution is asking the university to look closely at how those students admitted without standardized tests scores do and to continue the test-flexible policy for the fall of 2022. 

Another resolution would urge the university to create a four-week January term starting in January 2023. The resolution states that the pandemic created an avenue for this mid-year term that many students, faculty and staff want to take advantage of to continue studies over the holidays. However, several senators voiced that there are a lot of questions and concerns about this move from their departments, and are asking for more Q-and-A sessions to try and clarify what this would mean for the future.

The next Purdue Senate meeting is scheduled to happen on Monday, April 19th.

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