The University of Northern Iowa responded to claims by professor Steve O’Kane, who was removed from in-person teaching after saying he would lower grades of students who refuse to wear a mask.
O’Kane’s punishment, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, includes completing training addressing his professional responsibilities as a faculty member, receiving a ‘needs improvement’ performance evaluation for the 2021-22 academic year (which will make him ineligible for merit pay) and being removed from his in-person course immediately.
Despite the consequences, O’Kane told the Gazette he will institute a mask requirement in the spring if he is back in the classroom. He also said other faculty on campus has imposed mask mandates, he has just been the only one willing to publicly state it.
“We know, I know, the upper administration knows that I’m not the only civil disobedient here at UNI,“ he told the Gazette. ”I just happen to be the only one to have his name attached to it.“
For its part, the university said administrators have not received any additional reports or complaints about unauthorized mask requirements in any classrooms or campus spaces.
“Nor does upper administration have any knowledge of additional faculty or staff members attempting to enforce mask requirements at this time,” UNI said through a spokesman.