Maricopa Community Colleges Suspend Vaccine Mandate

December 9, 2021

By Corinne Murdock |

In the wake of multiple federal court rulings striking down all provisions of President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates, Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has suspended their vaccine mandate for employees. A number of colleges and universities followed Biden’s executive order requiring federal contractors to get vaccinated. 

MCCCD notified employees that it would hold onto the policy detailing their now-suspended mandate on their website, indicating that they would await further ruling on the subject. For the time being, their January 7 deadline is no longer in effect.

“Given the rapidly changing landscape, if an employee would like to voluntarily provide your vaccine information or continue with the accommodation process you may certainly do so,” wrote MCCCD. “MCCCD will leave the Federal Vaccine Mandate submission structure (including this website) in place and will continue to monitor the situation.”

All three of Arizona’s public universities — Arizona State University (ASU), Northern Arizona University (NAU), and University of Arizona (UArizona) — also have employee vaccination mandates in place. UArizona and NAU told AZ Free News that they were reviewing the court ruling and its potential impact, and indicated that ASU was as well. 

“At this time, we continue to strongly encourage employees to get vaccinated and verify their vaccination status,” said UArizona spokeswoman Holly Jensen.

Pima Community College also has a vaccine mandate; spokeswoman Libby Howell told Arizona Republic that they were keeping their mandate in place despite the ruling, but noted that their governing board may decide to vote to suspend it next week. 

The federal contractor vaccine mandate was suspended nationwide on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge R. Stan Baker, a Trump appointee to Georgia’s southern district court, in the State of Georgia, et al., v. Biden, et al. 

Baker’s opinion concurred with those issued by judges in separate rulings on other mandates prompted by Biden: that the president’s exercise of power didn’t align with the Constitution or other legal precedents. Baker also cited the ruling of another federal judge in Kentucky, Gregory Van Tatenhove, a Bush appointee, who previously suspended the same order in several states: Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.

“As another Court that has preliminarily enjoined the same measure at issue in this case has stated, ‘[t]his case is not about whether vaccines are effective. They are.’ […] Moreover, the Court acknowledges the tragic toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought throughout the nation and the globe,” wrote Baker. “However, even in times of crisis this Court must preserve the rule of law and ensure that all branches of government act within the bounds of their constitutionally granted authorities. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has recognized that, while the public indisputably ‘has a strong interest in combating the spread of [COVID-19],’ that interest does not permit the government to “act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends.” 

The reason that Baker applied his ruling nationally — as opposed to a limited application like Tatenhove’s Kentucky v. Biden ruling — was because the intervening plaintiff, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC), is a national company. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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