Michigan university fines students over $60k for COVID testing non-compliance

Students face fines in the $50-$100 range for each missed weekly test.

Accumulating more than $300 in fines prohibits students from registering for classes.

Western Michigan University (WMU) has reportedly fined students $60,000 for missing weekly COVID tests. 

“Hundreds of students” have been fined since Jan. 10, when mandated testing for the unvaccinated took effect. The total fees, $60,050.00, will be used to subsidize the university’s COVID testing costs, a WMU official told local news outlet News Channel 3. 

Fully vaccinated students, those who do not have to participate in weekly testing, are counted as “14 days past their final dose and received a booster shot when eligible,” according to the university.

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WMU fines each student $50 per missed test up and then $100 for every missed test after the first five absences. A student with over $300 in fines on their account is barred from class registration, the university states on its website. 

News Channel 3 further reported that WMU fined 678 students during the first week of classes and 523 students in the second week. 

There is no ceiling for the fees. Students wishing for religious and medical vaccine exemptions are told to contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Disability Services for Students, respectively. 

These fines come at a time when WMU President Edward Montgomery faces scrutiny for his handling of the pandemic. 

On Jan. 15, the university’s American Association of University Professors chapter, a faculty union, passed a vote of no-confidence against Montgomery, Western Heralda campus newspaper, reports

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Grievances, according to the outlet, included, “loss of institutional reputation, the rebranding, reduced value of faculty input, departmental restructuring, problematic and misconstrued financial status amid COVID-19 and termination of staff.”

WMU students will continue to face potential penalties for non-compliance in accordance with the university’s Student Code. 

”The Office of Student Conduct will no longer be involved with testing noncompliance, but will continue to adjudicate other COVID-19 policy violations under the WMU Student Code,” Western Michigan stated in its Dec. 14 update to the COVID-19 policies. 

Campus Reform reached out to Western Michigan University and university student groups for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

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