University Lifts Mask Mandate – After Graduation

Students described policies as 'an invasion of my privacy' as well as 'medical apartheid'

Image Credits: mixetto / Getty Images.

Oakland University ditched its indoor mask mandate, but only after its graduation ceremonies were over. 

The new policy took effect May 3, three days after the end of commencement ceremonies, which ran Apr. 28-30 at Rochester, Michigan, university.

Following similar policies from schools like Michigan State University, Rutgers University, and Indiana University Bloomington, Oakland will not be ending its vaccination requirement, citing Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Up until this March, Oakland University employed an extensive, five-page COVID-19 surveillance dashboard that allowed the public to view vaccine mandate compliance rates for full-time students, faculty, and staff. 

The COVID-19 surveillance dashboard enabled the public to view student vaccination and exemption rates, as well as weekly positive cases. 

Campus Reform spoke to students under COVID-19 surveillance at the beginning of the semester, and those students described such policies as “an invasion of my privacy” as well as “medical apartheid.”

Oakland University’s commencement ceremonies will limit each graduate to three guests, a policy previously implemented by other universities including the University of New Haven and Pennsylvania State University as an additional COVID-19 measure.

Director of Media Relations Brian Bierley told Campus Reform that “there has been no change in policy at Oakland University because of COVID” and that “we livestream all our commencements on our website/YouTube pages, so the number of people attending virtually is limitless.”

The school will also be following a trend in higher education of hosting separate commencement or pre-commencement events for individuals based on their identities, including a Lavender Graduation for “the LGBTQIA community at OU” and a Black Excellence Celebratory “to honor African and African American students.”

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