ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Another vaccination deadline is looming at the University of New Mexico. Last Monday, students received notices of registration holds. Cinnamon Blair, with UNM’s communication and marketing, explains, “Right now they cannot register for any future semesters until they become compliant with the mandate.”
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Right now, UNM’s dashboard says about 97% of students are vaccinated or have an exemption. The students who are still holding out are now getting warning letters.
There are mixed feelings from people on campus surrounding the mandate – even from vaccinated students. Chris Rambaldi, a UNM student says, “I feel like that’s just not right. You should not have to be forced to take a drug in order to be educated.”
Students aren’t the only ones at risk of getting booted from the university. Blair says, “We have a handful of staff members right now going through a process by which they would be separated if they do not get vaccinated or become otherwise compliant.”
The university is calling it a “non-voluntary separation” saying workers who become compliant with the mandate, later on, can re-apply to work at UNM.
Right now, the unvaccinated are required to submit negative COVID tests, but soon, that will no longer be an option. Blair shares, “If you are doing the testing that was an opt-in to get through the rest of the semester and will not be an option for next semester at this point.”
Now, unvaccinated students have a big decision to make. “Either I get the vaccine or I have to wait until everything’s in the clear and then come back to finish my program which ultimately, I think is unfair,” says one student who has chosen not to get the vaccine.
However, not everyone feels sorry for those students – arguing the mandate has allowed students to get back on campus. UNM student Molly Rosenshein says, “I am all for it. I think it was one of the only ways we could get back into in-person classes. And I think a lot of students wouldn’t have gotten vaccinated otherwise.”
Students and staff with exemptions will still have to take weekly COVID tests throughout the semester. The university has signed off on more than 12,000 exemptions for students and staff.