C-SC president: Mandating vaccine allows college to ‘get back to core mission’

COVID vaccine

Doug Palmer wants to life at Culver-Stockton College to return to what it was before the pandemic as soon as possible.

“We believe strongly that it is in our best interest to get back to our core mission of teaching and learning,” he said.

Palmer believes the best path to do that is by mandating that all students receive a vaccine for COVID-19 before they return to the Canton, Mo., campus in the fall. Culver-Stockton is one of two schools in Missouri (Washington University is the other) to have such a requirement. 

University Business, a magazine that covers higher education news, says 192 colleges and universities nationwide are requiring the vaccine. On that list are Yale, Stanford, Duke, Notre Dame, Michigan, Syracuse and Southern California.

The first-year president sent an email last week informing students that the COVID-19 vaccine is being added to the list of vaccines — such as measles, meningitis, rubella, and mumps — required for a student. Students with religious or medical conditions which prevent them from receiving the vaccine will be exempt from the requirement if they provide necessary paperwork.

“We’ve been watching, monitoring, speaking with folks, all year long about what’s going on with the COVID pandemic, (as well as) progress with vaccines,” Palmer said. “As we are getting to the end of the year … the leadership team started focusing on what things would look like when we came back in the fall.

“The FDA, CDC, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, they all are attesting to the safety of the vaccine and the necessity of folks getting the vaccine to be able to return. We evaluated our current situation and capacity to handle another semester under pandemic conditions.”

Culver-Stockton is not yet mandating that its staff and faculty be vaccinated.

“We just haven’t evaluated where our staff stands yet,” Palmer said. “Our primary concern right now is our students. We are much more confident that our staff already has been vaccinated.”

Palmer says he has read and heard reactions that have been highly critical of the college’s decision. He admits it could have an impact on enrollment.

“However, we’ve also had plenty of reactions that are in support,” he said. “I think students understand. Alumni understand. Faculty and staff understand. We’re not equipped to provide long-term health care to students. We’re equipped to teach. We’re equipped for experiential learning. We’re equipped for a robust social life. And that’s what our intentions are here.”

Matt Bergman, director of development, alumni and community relations at Quincy University, says the school wants to have “as much of a normal fall as we possibly can.” However, that does not include a plan to require the vaccine.

“We’re encouraging people to get (the vaccine), and a good chunk of our faculty, staff and students have received it,” Bergman said. “But we’re not mandating it unless we’re forced by the state of Illinois or the Catholic Church. We fully understand that some people won’t get it, and we’re not going to mandate it.”

Bergman doesn’t expect a fall plan to be created until June.

“We could have more people eating in the cafeteria. We could have more people in a classroom,” he said. “We’ve heard research is being done that shows that people can be socially distanced at three feet instead of six feet. At this point, we don’t know exactly what our plan will be.”

John Wood Community College in Quincy, Ill., also will not make it mandatory for students to have received a vaccine when fall classes resume. Tracy Hagman, director of marketing and public relations, says the college is “highly recommending” the vaccine. Masks will be required. Social distancing will be in place.

COVID-19 prevention measures will be in place in the fall at Hannibal-LaGrange University in Hannibal, Mo. However, digital media specialist Chris Yingling says the school is “not fully ready to release what the plans are yet.”


These colleges and universities are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations in some form for the start of the 2021-22 academic year. The list, as of May 4, is courtesy of University Business, a magazine that covers higher education news. Some colleges and universities require faculty and students be vaccinated as well. Others only want students living on campus to receive vaccines. Almost all of those listed below are accepting religious and medical exemptions.

  • CALIFORNIA: Claremont McKenna College, Dominican University of California, Harvey Mudd College, Humboldt State University, Loyola Marymount University, Menlo College, Occidental College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Samuel Merritt University, Scripps College, Southwestern College, Stanford University, University of San Diego, University of Southern California, 23 schools in the California State University system (with FDA approval), 10 schools in University of California system (with FDA approval).
  • COLORADO: Colorado College, Fort Lewis College, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Regis University, University of Denver, University of Northern Colorado, 3 colleges in Colorado State University system (must have FDA approval), 4 colleges in University of Colorado system.
  • CONNECTICUT: Trinity College, Wesleyan University, Yale University
  • FLORIDA: Nova Southeastern University
  • GEORGIA: Clark Atlanta University, Emory University, Morehouse College, Spelman College
  • ILLINOIS: Columbia College, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Roosevelt University
  • INDIANA: Depauw University, Holy Cross College, St. Mary’s College, University of Notre Dame, Valparaiso University
  • IOWA: Grinnell College
  • KENTUCKY: Berea College
  • MAINE: Bowdoin College, College of the Atlantic
  • MARYLAND: Coppin State University, Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Maryland-Baltimore, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, University of Baltimore, Frostburg University, Towson University, Salisbury University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, University of Maryland Global Campus, & University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Amherst College, Anna Maria College, Berklee College of Music, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Bridgewater State University, College of the Holy Cross, Emerson College, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, Hampshire College, Lasell University, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Mount Holyoke University, Northeastern University, Salem State University, Smith College, Simmons University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Massaschusetts at Boston, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Westfield State University, Worcester State University.
  • MICHIGAN: Lawrence Technological University, Oakland University, University of Michigan
  • MINNESOTA: Carleton College, Macalester College
  • MISSOURI: Culver Stockton College, Washington University
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Dartmouth College, Southern New Hampshire University
  • NEW JERSEY: Drew University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Princeton University, Rider University, Rutgers University, Stevens Institute of Technology
  • NEW YORK: Barnard College, Columbia University, Cornell University, Five Towns College, Fordham University, Hamilton College, Ithaca College, Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Le Moyne College, Manhattanville College, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Sarah Lawrence College, St. John’s University, Syracuse University, The New School, University of Rochester, Vassar College
  • NORTH CAROLINA: Brevard College, Duke University, Livingstone College, Wake Forest University
  • OHIO: Cleveland State University, Kenyon College
  • OREGON: Lewis & Clark University, University of Portland, Willamette University
  • PENNSYLVANIA: Bryn Mawr College, Drexel University, Lehigh University, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, Thomas Jefferson University, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences
  • RHODE ISLAND: Brown University, Roger Williams University
  • SOUTH CAROLINA: Wofford College
  • TENNESSEE: Maryville College
  • TEXAS: Paul Quinn College, St. Edward’s University
  • VERMONT: Bennington College
  • VIRGINIA: Hampton University, Mary Baldwin University, Virginia Wesleyan University
  • WASHINGTON: Pacific Lutheran, Seattle University, University of Washington, Washington State University, Whitman College
  • WASHINGTON, D.C.: American University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Trinity Washington University.
  • WISCONSIN: Lawrence University

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