I have taught at LSU for 47 years and am fond of the students of several generations that I have seen before me. The most important health and safety issue for our current students for the Fall semester is the pandemic and its unfortunate resurgence around us. I appeal to those among our students and rest of the LSU community yet to be vaccinated to talk to your physicians and get the shots.
Our ancestral generations had the courage to get their children vaccinated against polio, MMR, etc. in spite of worries over risks, especially in the beginning. They looked ahead and saw that the benefits far outweighed those risks. We are lucky that scientists provided unimaginably safe and effective vaccines against COVID: The new mRNA technology is even safer than some of those in the past that used live but attenuated virus.
As members of LSU, let us also remember President Lincoln and other visionaries who, even in the midst of the calamity of the Civil War, established A&M colleges such as ours through the Morrill Act. They were set up in every state for the good of future generations through agricultural and engineering research and education.
We owe an obligation to them now to follow the same reason, logic and vision for the future. Both students and faculty want to see safe operations with in-person classes and without disruptions mid-semester from spikes in cases. For this, a much larger percentage of our community than at present needs to be vaccinated, the only real defense against various variants of this disease. Vaccines are readily available on campus and free.
There is a lot of misinformation about the status as emergency FDA authorization but recent court rulings should carry more weight. See two stories, one on Indiana University's court-upheld mandate, another on some Louisiana hospitals' weariness to require the vaccine for its employees.
Indiana University prevailed. LSU should also set an example for our state and require vaccinations.
A.R.P Rau is a professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University.