Eduvation Blog

Confronting Our Phobias

Good morning!

A special shout-out this morning to the “Guilders” (you know who you are). Today I’ll be spending 6 or 7 hours (virtually) with them, as we gather for our annual 2-day Summit. In the beforetimes, we would meet in person and explore a member campus, enjoy the local restaurant scene, and of course engage in hours of dynamic discussion. This year, we’ll do our best to replicate much of that value virtually. (Since I’ll be tied up today and tomorrow, though, there probably won’t be an Insider before Friday.)

Sadly, when I wrote about “Pride vs Shame” last Friday, and the tragic way that Indigenous History Monthstarted in Canada, little did I realize that the xenophobia, racism and mass murder would come so close to home just days later. Less than a mile from my home, 3 generations of a family were senselessly cut short by a lone yahoo in a black pickup truck, simply because of their religion. There has been an outpouring of outrage and grief nationally and internationally, but particularly at Western U, where Madiha Salman was working towards a PhD in Engineering, and Salman Afzaal was a Health Sciences grad. I stand with the Muslim community, and indeed all Canadians, to mourn this senseless tragedy and to condemn Islamophobia and hate.


“The love we hold for our Muslim brothers and sisters in London is unwavering and unconditional. All Londoners benefit from your kindness, and your goodwill. We are not merely a city. We are a community. We are family. And as such, we wrap our arms around you. Together we will grieve, and together our hearts will mend.”Ed Holder, Mayor, London Ontario


(If you missed my idealistic rant against racism on Friday, feel free to go back and read it today, when it is even more urgent.)

Today, rather than combating Islamophobia or xenophobia, we’re talking about efforts to overcome trypanophobia and vaccine hesitancy…



Mandatory Vaccines

For more than 2 months now, I’ve been noting the rapid adoption of vaccine mandates across US college and university campuses (now 479 institutions) and predicting that some CdnPSEs would inevitably follow suit. (See the Insider Recap of Vaccination Policies for all my coverage.)


Sure enough, the first CdnPSE announcement came May 27 from Western U, who will require all students in residence to have at least one dose of vaccine this Fall (as will the affiliated colleges, King’s, Huron and Brescia). Days later, on June 1, Trent U followed suit. Now, 2 more “dominoes” have fallen in Ontario…


Vax Mandate at Fanshawe

Last Thursday, Jun 3, Fanshawe College (like Western, also in London ON) announced that students living in residence this September will be required to show proof of having at least one dose of an approved COVID19 vaccine, and will also be expected to get their second dose in a timely fashion. (Fanshawe’s 3 campus residence halls accommodate 1,220 students, and nearby townhouses another 396.) Two weeks after their first dose, students will be allowed to use lounges and common spaces, and engage in in-person social activities on campus. Some exemptions on medical or other grounds may be possible, although they will come with restrictions. The regional PHO publicly thanked Fanshawe for its decision: “You’ll really, certainly, prevent cases and likely outbreaks from occurring in the future.”  Fanshawe  |  CBC


“Providing an enriched residence living experience is a top priority for the Fanshawe Residence experience this fall, and that requires measures to protect ourselves and our student community to the fullest extent we can.”David Norwood, Director of Residence Operations, Fanshawe College



Vax Mandate at uToronto

Yesterday, uToronto announced that students living in residence on any of its 3 campuses this Fall, or in its affiliated colleges, must be vaccinated against COVID19. UofT strongly recommends that students get their first dose at least 14 days prior to residence move-in, but those who have not will have 14 days’ grace to do so. Documentary evidence must be provided, and will be handled in compliance with FIPPA. Students who cannot be vaccinated on medical grounds “or other grounds recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Code” can request an exemption. (The requirement also does not apply to UofT’s student family housing.)   UofT


Manitoba PSE Considering

As of Sunday, Manitoba’s uWinnipeg and Red River College reported they were still considering the possibility of a vaccine requirement in residence, while uManitoba, Saint Boniface U, Brandon U and UC of the North said they did not plan to implement such a mandate. (As of Jun 1, uManitoba had reported 87 COVID19 cases on campus.)  Toronto Star


European Unis Debating

In the UK, university vice-chancellors are grappling with the risk of anti-vax sentiment among their staff and students, domestic or international. Louise Richardson, VC of Oxford, had trouble answering the question, “what are we going to do to all those who… jeopardize the health of their colleagues by refusing to get a vaccine?” Michael Ignatieff, president of Central European U, doesn’t see how campus can operate without a vaccine requirement.  Times Higher Ed


“Institutions may have to make vaccines mandatory. I just don’t know how we can operate institutions [otherwise].”Michael Ignatieff, President, Central European U



US CDC Guidelines

On Friday, the American CDC issued updated higher ed guidance indicating that campuses with all students and employees fully vaccinated against COVID19 prior to the start of the semester can resume in-person classes at full capacity, and abandon mask mandates, physical distancing and testing requirements. (General flu prevention practices, such as hand hygiene, symptom screening and contact tracing, still apply.) The CDC does not supersede state or local regulation, some of which explicitly forbid a vaccine mandate.  CDC


“Vacc2school” at GPRC

As I’ve outlined in previous issues, many state and provincial governments – and some colleges and universities – have launched immunization ad campaigns, lotteries and incentives ranging from free donuts to free tuition. (And let’s not forget Ohio’s “Vax-a-Million” lottery!) Tuition contests seem to be particularly popular in Alberta, starting with uLethbridge’s “Worth a Shot” contest, and now Grande Prairie Regional College’s “Vacc2school” campaign. From Jun 1 to Sep 1, GPRC students, faculty and staff who had received a COVID19 shot can enter to win 160+ prizes, from Wolves merchandise and bookstore vouchers to 3 grand prizes of full tuition for the Fall term. Vaccinated faculty and staff can win parking passes.  GPRC News


Faster Together

Many CdnPSEs are participating in a national social media campaign, “Faster Together,” to encourage campus communities (and Canadians of all ages) to get vaccinated ASAP. The campaign, led by Spark*Advocacy, Abacus Data and the Canadian Labour Congress, launched in early June with more than 17 Canadian universities and hundreds of other partners.  Queen’s Gazette  |



OK, CdnPSE, so who’s next?





Speaking of campaigns to motivate people to get vaccinated, here’s a great one that also embraces diversity!


Ka kite, COVID!

New Zealand has done plenty of things right in this pandemic, and I think this upbeat 1-min immunization commercial is just one more! “Ka kite, COVID” (essentially “see ya!”) features feisty kids, adults, doctors, athletes and more telling COVID19 “you were a bit of an egg in 2020, eh?” and that “we’re ready to win!” The vaccination centre offers a “metaphorical door to freedom” through which “we’re getting immunity!” It’s a very cool ad, with multilingual sound bites and plenty of in-your-face diversity.  YouTube



As always, thanks for reading! Please do drop me a line if you spot something interesting, thought-provoking or cool happening on your campus, or elsewhere in the world!

Stay safe and be well!


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