TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — RPI has joined a small but growing number of colleges and universities mandating vaccinations for students.
Beginning this summer, all rising juniors will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to the school’s return to in-person classes for its Arch Program. This makes RPI the first college in the Capital Region to issue a vaccine mandate for students.
“It may seem extraneous and so much, but to them, they’re just being extra careful, which I get,” said one student.
The college is looking to return-to-normal operations in the “near future.” In the fall, vaccinations will be required for all students.
“I understand how some people don’t like the idea of something being forced, even if they do want to get it, but I do really think it’s the best decision for the university,” said Sophmore Max Oleksa.
Oleksa said there are campus-wide group chats where a small group of students do not support the mandate.
“They’re focused on it being forced and not the fact that it’s good,” Oleksa said.
Other private colleges could follow RPI’s lead. Both Siena and Union Colleges are considering possible vaccine mandates. But is this legal?
“Ultimately the judge would probably say, ‘You don’t want to go to RPI? Great. Go somewhere else,” said attorney Lee Kindlon.
Kindlon said the contract a student signs gives the school the ability create a mandate like this. Not all schools are quick to follow because the vaccine has only been cleared for emergency use as opposed to a full FDA approval.
“I think over the next couple months everyone is going to balance out and find the right message to give to those people who want to go on campus, go into their store, come into their place of work,” Kindlon said.