New Texas A&M president Katherine Banks first visit before the university’s faculty senate included multiple requests to move classes online and require pandemic vaccinations and wearing masks.
Dr. Banks stated more than once that A&M will continue to follow pandemic protocols from the governor and the A&M system.
Banks supported other faculty senate suggestions. They included making more mental health services available for employees and students, expand access to vaccinations, and increase social media exposure to wearing masks and getting vaccinated.
Later in the meeting, faculty senate speaker Dale Rice said said A&M’s “communication over masking has been an absolute joke. It’s been a dismal failure.”
Rice also said there have repeated requests have been made to the president’s and system offices for faculty to be notified when someone in their classroom tests positive for coronavirus. Rice said “I have been emphasizing that we’re not asking for names, just the chance for you to be alerted so that you can get tested and be extra careful around others while you await your test results.”
Faculty senate speaker-elect Patricia Smith was among those calling for specific metrics that would result in moving A&M in person classes online. Responding to chief operating officer Greg Hartman’s statement that a combination of factors are involved, Dr. Smith said “saying that 3,100 cases is not that bad is not satisfactory. One death, not being able to answer a question about how many deaths were okay, just kind of blowing that question off really, was disconcerting.”
Click below for comments from the September 13, 2021 Texas A&M faculty senate meeting.