Pulse Point Survey Explores Politicization of COVID-19 Vaccines’ Impact on Colleges
December 17, 2021

​ACE’s latest Pulse Point survey of college and university presidents—the second of this fall term—looked at how political discourse about the pandemic has affected their institution’s ability to implement COVID-19 mitigation measures on campus.

Of the 113 presidents who responded to the survey​, most noted that the vast majority of campus stakeholders have been supportive of mitigation measures.

Presidents at public four-year institutions (74 percent) were the most likely to agree that political discourse affected their institution’s ability to require measures such as vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and testing. This was followed by presidents at public two-year (65 percent) and private four-year (58 percent) institutions.

Presidents were also asked to report their level of agreement with this statement: “Federal government requirements related to COVID-19 vaccines for faculty and staff had created tension with my state government.” Overall, 27 percent of presidents agreed and 21 percent strongly agreed that federal government requirements have created tension with their state governments.

Seventy-three percent of respondents reported that their governing board had been very supportive of their institution's implementation of COVID-19 mitigation measures. The majority of presidents (88 percent) also reported that their students were very supportive or supportive of their response to the pandemic.

Presidents across the board said that they primarily avoid politicizing COVID-19 in their institutional decision-making processes and based their decisions on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their state backed by science.

As they have in previous surveys in this series, respondents also identified their most pressing current concerns. For the seventh time since April 2020, “mental health of students” was cited most frequently by presidents, with 73 percent identifying it as among their concerns. “Enrollment numbers for the next academic term” came in next at 63 percent, and after that was “mental health of faculty and staff” at 57 percent.

See the full list here.