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College presidents meet, sans masks, after issuing mask mandates

Angela Morabito, Campus Reform

  • The presidents of James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University, Bridgewater College, and Blue Ridge Community College met indoors without masks at an off-campus event.
  • All four schools had already implemented mask mandates for their respective campuses to take effect at various points this month.

Four college presidents in southern Virginia went maskless at an indoor meeting on August 10, just after announcing indoor mask mandates for their respective students and faculty.

Video reporting from WHSV 3 shows the presidents of James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University, Bridgewater College, and Blue Ridge Community College speaking to each other indoors, in close proximity, without masks.

On August 9, the day before the event, JMU president Jonathan Alger and senior university leaders issued a schoolwide message about updated COVID-19 protocols.

“Beginning Aug. 16,” the statement said, “all JMU employees and students, regardless of vaccination status, will be temporarily required to wear masks in indoor spaces on owned or leased university property when in close proximity to others.”

Blue Ridge Community College President John Downey appears maskless in some parts of the video, though he is masked in others. His college’s indoor mask mandate took effect the same day of the event.

The same day of the meeting, Eastern Mennonite University announced its own indoor mask mandate that would take effect on Aug. 16th. The day before the meeting, Bridgewater College announced a mask mandate that would take effect on Aug. 11th.

Alger, Downey, and Eastern Mennonite University President Susan Schultz Huxman each delivered remarks to the room without wearing a mask, a privilege they now deny to their faculty.

WHSV 3 reporter John Hood tweeted a photo of the college presidents with the college presidents in which no one is wearing a mask.

The group gathered at the Presidents Address breakfast, an annual event hosted off-campus by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. The event was an opportunity for local college leaders to speak to each other and to attendees about their plans for the upcoming school year.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito 

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