CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Faculty at Iowa public universities are demanding the right to require masks in their classrooms regardless of state law or policies against them.
Biology professor Steve O'Kane Jr. has pushed a resolution among colleagues at the University of Northern Iowa saying faculty should be allowed to manage their classrooms. O'Kane told The Cedar Rapids Gazette that he's already imposed a mask mandates for his students and lowers their lab grades if they refuse to comply.
He said he is willing to be fired over the issue and added, “Of course, I would immediately sue the university and the Board of Regents.
Northern Iowa, the University of Iowa and Iowa State University sent petitions last month to the state Board of Regents signed by hundreds of faculty asking for the ability to require masks and vaccines.
The University of Iowa chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the college's graduate student union sent an email Sunday to President Barbara Wilson arguing that state law gives faculty the right to require masks in classrooms and offices to control COVID-19's spread.
Regents President Mike Richards in May barred administrators from requiring masks or vaccines. He's maintained that position despite the more contagious delta variant.