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September 25, 2023

University partially repeals mask mandate, as students and staff divided over its necessity

FOX Carolina

A petition organized by the Clemson College Republicans was placed on the door of President Clements’ home Thursday morning, saying that there has been “an unequal enforcement of masks on campus,” according to FOX Carolina.

Clemson University announced that it is repealing its face mask mandate in part, returning to the requirement at the end of the fall semester that face masks are required in classrooms, labs, medical facilities and on public transportation.
“After an initial surge shortly after in-person classes began, the number of cases detected – and the number of students in isolation and quarantine – have steadily declined over the past two weeks,” said the University in an email sent to students and staff.
Masks continued to be strongly encouraged by the University during gatherings held indoors. Students and staff are also required to continue weekly testing for the virus, which will be reviewed for potential frequency changes in two weeks.
The announcement comes after students have expressed division over the necessity of the mandate, with some students strongly against it and others indifferent.
“If my professor tells me to wear a mask, I’ll wear one. I had COVID on the way down [to Clemson], so I can’t get it again,” said Roman Dominguez, a junior pre-business major. “I think they should repeal it, but this isn’t a hill I’m going to die on.”
Some students hold that the mandate helps them feel safer while in crowded rooms.
“It’s been good to keep COVID cases down,” said Selina Guo, a freshman biology major. “If I’m around a lot of people I try to wear one.”
Today’s changes to the mask mandate appear to match the practices of students and staff on campus, including President Jim Clements.
Prior to the start of Wednesday night’s men’s basketball game, announcements reminded spectators that masks were required in Littlejohn Coliseum. President Clements was witnessed throughout the game without a face covering, leading some to note the contrast between policy and practice.
In a statement prior to the partial repeal of the face mask mandate, the Clemson College Republicans commented on the incident.
“The pictures of President Clements are a clear reflection of the life us students currently live at Clemson University,” said Marris Meyer, spokesperson for the group. “What we see is the hypocrisy of those who make and enforce the rules.”
The University declined to comment on the incident.
As over a fifth of the student population at Clemson has reported a positive COVID test this semester, some faculty have taken to moving classes online to avoid spreading the virus themselves. The University did not comment on such professors opting to go online.
This is a developing story. The Tiger will update this article with additional information as it becomes available.

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