University Student COVID Vaccine Requirements, Your Personal Philosophy, Rural Food Insecurity, a U.P. Hero, and University Trustee Oversight

DALL·E 2023-12-26 14.09.19 - A wide-format conceptual collage illustrating three themes 1) Rural food insecurity, depicted as a sparse, rural landscape with a small, understocked

Require University Students to Have COVID Vaccine Prior to Start of Classes?

Michigan university students are ending their semester studies in the next few weeks. Some will stay for summer classes and some return to their homes around America.

The question being raised in Michigan and around the nation is should they be required to show that they have had the COVID vaccine prior to returning to campus?

No vaccine, no entry to classes, residence halls or any other building on the campus of a public university. Will university boards of trustees make the decision to require this, and how will it then impact the public university enrollment this Fall?

With declining enrollment at many Michigan public universities already, this is an important question and so is the question of whether public health safety requires these students to have the vaccine.

Should this be a decision for each Michigan public university board of trustees or should it be a state mandate approved by the state legislature and governor? Will all this end up in Michigan’s courts and/or in America’s courts?

What is Your Personal Philosophy?

In no more than three sentences, what is your personal philosophy that guides you everyday? If you have been reading our Rural Voices feature on our website, you have seen what values and philosophies have guided some who were born and raised in the Upper Peninsula. 

Would you like to tell us in a shorthand version about your personal philosophies? We will share them with our readers. Let us know if you want your sentences published anonymously or with your name attached. No more than three sentences. Codes to live by. 

Rural Food Insecurity

“Rural counties in America make up 63% of the counties in the U.S., but account for 87% of counties with the highest rates of food insecurity.” (Feeding America). Experts in the Upper Peninsula tell us that we are seeing very high rates of food insecurity across our region. Very high.

An Upper Peninsula Hero: David Hayward McClintok

The Battle of Palowan Passage was one of the major WWII battles on the seas that was hailed as one that began the turning point in the war. It occurred on October 23, 1944. It was led by local Marquette hero David Hayward McClintok, who was the skipper of the U.S.S. Darter at the time and who is credited with the sinking of the Japanese Flagship Atago.

Learn more about this important local American hero. There is a monument tribute (a ship replica) located in Mattson Park in downtown Marquette. 

Public University Trustee Oversight

Michigan public university governing systems are prescribed by the Michigan Constitution (1963). Three of these schools have boards elected by the public for terms set in the constitution.

Ten of the others have boards appointed by the Governor and approved by the legislature, with terms set in the constitution. Since the 1963 Michigan Constitution was approved by the voters, there have been high quality boards elected and appointed.

That is not to say there have not been clunkers here and there, but by and large the constitutional system has worked well.

However, we recently witnessed some trustee controversy at the so called big three universities: University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University, all with voter-elected trustees/regents.

At the other ten public universities they, like the others, are making some major decisions about pandemic public health issues, public policy and political issues of importance that have not been faced by universities often in their history.

The question being raised by some today is whether there should be a statewide body to oversee how these trustees are making these decisions and how it impacts their students, faculty, staff and statewide taxpayers.

For instance, these advocates are asking whether each university should be allowed to make their own decisions about pandemic policies, or should an oversight body approve them? Who should be on this oversight body and who appoints them? Is it constitutional and will it make a difference?

Some interesting arguments on both sides being discussed. More to come.

Quotes (That make you go hmmm)

“Both in markets and life, the goal isn’t to embrace risk or eschew it, but to bear it intelligently while never forgetting the possibility of an unpleasant outcome. Nothing is more essential than our capacity to survive the most difficult times not only financially but emotionally.” William Green, author of Richer, Wiser, Happier.

“Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.” Doris Keans Goodwin, historian and author.

Book Recommendations

Do you have books to suggest to us and our readers? Please send us the titles, author names and publication dates. Send them to None of the book suggestions we publish are endorsements of the book or the author, just suggestions for you to consider.

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David Haynes

David Haynes has served as a professor of public administration and public policy. He previously has served as President of Northern Michigan University. David has been involved in the public administration and political science field for over 45 years.


  1. Eric j Defenderfer on April 26, 2021 at 7:50 am

    how can I get more background on this highlight?

    Rural Food Insecurity

    “Rural counties in America make up 63% of the counties in the U.S., but account for 87% of counties with the highest rates of food insecurity.” (Feeding America). Experts in the Upper Peninsula tell us that we are seeing very high rates of food insecurity across our region. Very high.

  2. Sarah Smith on April 26, 2021 at 9:32 am

    I am surprised that the information on food insecurity was presented without much context. It is journalism like this that borders on misinformation. A reader might conclude that people in vast swatches of rural America are going hungry. First, it is important to understand what food insecurity means. There are several levels. Here are the definitions from he USDA:
    -High food security (old label=Food security): no reported indications of food-access problems or limitations.
    – Marginal food security (old label=Food security): one or two reported indications—typically of anxiety over food sufficiency or shortage of food in the house. Little or no indication of changes in diets or food intake.
    Food Insecurity
    – Low food security (old label=Food insecurity without hunger): reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.
    Very low food security (old label=Food insecurity with hunger): reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.
    So “food insecurity” can mean anything from being anxious about where to eat the next meal to having reduced food intake. It does not necessarily mean going hungry. We have to be careful not to equate America’s food insecurity with the actual malnourishment and hunger that pervades large swatches of the world’s poor.
    And yet some Americans DO have a problem obtaining a well balanced diet, whether due to financial circumstances, lack of dietary knowledge, or bad eating habits. The actual USDA report is very informative. One interesting chart shows that food SECURE households spent an average of $50 per person per week on food, whereas households with VERY LOW food security spent and average of $46.67.
    According to the USDA, about 56% of Americans with low food security are receiving food aid such as SNAP, WIC, and the National School Lunch Program.
    Federal and state programs are helping, but as rural Americans it is up to us to help our neighbors, and we do by contributing to food banks, with hands-on gardening programs, and such.

  3. Barry Davis on April 27, 2021 at 10:20 am

    I am not sure of the original source of this quote but I believe it to be good words to live by.

    “If you have integrity nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity nothing else matters.”

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