Student athletes react to university's vaccine mandate for sports teams

The University of Hawaii is barring student athletes from competing in sports if they have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Student athletes are split in their opinion on the new policy.

On July 29, unvaccinated student athletes at the University of Hawaii learned that they would not be allowed to compete on sports teams. 

Student may apply for an exemption to the COVD-19 vaccine mandate for religious or medical reasons, according to the Star-Advertiser. The decision was made by UH’s athletic department after consulting with a university medical committee. 

”In addition to health and safety reasons, we want to avoid cancellations of games and practices due to exposures, isolation and quarantine,” a university press release stated. 

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Student athletes at the University of Hawaii are divided over the policy. 

“I think that students should either have to be vaccinated or get COVID tested regularly to be able to compete in sports,” UH beach volleyball player, Sofia Russo, told Campus Reform. “It’s important for everyone participating to feel safe.”

Mackenzie La Neve, a softball player, disagreed. “Personally, I do not agree with student athletes having to get vaccinated to play sports,” La Neve told Campus Reform. “I know the staff at UH are doing this to ensure our safety, but what about our right to choose what we want to do with our bodies? Each student at UH takes pride in our state. We represent Hawaii but we will not represent a school that forces us to get vaccinated in order to play the sport we love.” 

[RELATED: REPORT: Boston College rejects vaccine exemptions for Catholics]

La Neve also spoke about the pressure she feels from the university’s liberal atmosphere. 

“My university is a liberal college so I feel pressured into conforming with their beliefs when writing papers or doing assignments,” she stated. “This is the same situation for athletics as well.”

UH has yet to report the vaccination rate for its sports teams, according to the news outlet.

Campus Reform reached out to the university for comment; this article will be updated accordingly. 

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