Northern Iowa Professor Reprimanded for Requiring Masks
University of Northern Iowa professor Steve O'Kane was well aware he'd be in violation of the Board of Regents' policy when he instituted his mask requirement for his classes.
The mandate put in place warned of lower grades for for its antagonists.
Following the decision to compel his students to wear masks in the classroom, O'Kane was no longer allowed to teach on campus. He will also be placed in the "needs improvement" category in regards to his performance evaluation, won't be eligible for merit pay this year, and will be obligated to take a course on compliance with faculty responsibilities.
Despite these punishments, he will still be permitted to teach classes in an online-only setting.
He also maintains the requirement will stay in place should he return for the spring semester.
"You may tell your readers that next semester I intend to also disobey,"
O'Kane told the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Friday.
To not disobey is to admit defeat. And what the administration is forced to do — please note my words — what the administration is forced to do is immoral and unethical. And it all boils down to Iowa politics."
Regent spokesperson Josh Lehman penned a response to a request for a statement from the Press-Citizen:
"The board’s guiding principle for the fall 2021 semester has been to give students a return to as much of a traditional educational experience and student life activities as possible,"
he said via email.
This includes in-person coursework and other campus opportunities at levels similar to prior to the pandemic."
O'Kane wrote in a blog about his stance, which was shared via Twitter:
University of Northern Iowa Murals in Downtown Cedar Falls