The University of Alabama (UA) and Auburn University (AU) announced on Friday that to keep federal funding, the colleges must comply with President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 executive order on vaccine mandates for all employees.
Employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 8 or be discharged.
“Failure to comply will place The University of Alabama in jeopardy of losing hundreds of millions of dollars that we receive through federal contracts and awards, as well as thousands of jobs funded, in part, by those dollars,” UA said in a press release to faculty, staff, and student employees.
As part of his “Path Out of the Pandemic: COVID-19 Action Plan,” Biden enacted Executive Order 14042 that directed the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force to “issue guidance” mandating vaccines for federal contractors and subcontractors, which includes public universities.
“As a federal contractor, The University of Alabama, like most higher education institutions, must comply with the executive order and accompanying guidance,” UA said, with no “flexibility in its application or enforcement.”
UA said medical and religious exemptions will be considered, and that it will “continue to closely examine and monitor these federal mandates.”
“We recognize that this is an important topic that will generate many strong feelings,” UA said.
As a public research institution that receives federal funding, AU is also classified as a federal contractor that must comply or lose funding.
“Currently, Auburn maintains approximately $200 million in federal contracts that are expected to be impacted by this order, including contracts with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), among others,” AU said in a press release. “Federal contracts are also a major revenue source for communities across Alabama—this is one-way tax dollars paid to the federal government come back to the state to benefit all Alabamians.”
In the fiscal year 2020, Alabama contractors were awarded $12 billion for 98,147 federal contracts and subcontracts, AU said.
“Auburn is compelled to comply with the executive order and the guidance to the extent that those have been incorporated into our federal contracts,” AU said. “Those contracts include the requirement that covered employees be vaccinated for COVID-19.”