(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University President Thomas K. Hudson is pleased to announce 100 percent vaccination among his executive leadership team and academic deans. Hudson said he hopes the news will inspire additional leadership on campus and throughout the community of historically black colleges and universities to follow suit.
“I am extremely happy to work with a group of dynamic leaders who lead by example,” said Hudson. “It’s extremely important to us that our campus community get vaccinated, and this is our way to show everyone that we, as leadership, aren’t asking you to do anything that we aren’t doing ourselves. We are following the science, which indicates that the vaccines available are safe and effective. I encourage our students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated because it will be the best way to keep our campus community safe.”
Other groups on campus are following the president’s lead. To date, members of the Sonic Boom of the South and the J-Settes are 80 percent vaccinated, and the student athletes are 85 percent vaccinated. Vice President and Athletics Director Ashley Robinson said he appreciates how the student leaders are stepping up to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Our student leaders know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and we want as many members of the Jackson State University family to get vaccinated because their lives are valuable,” said Robinson. “We don’t want to lose another person to this virus unnecessarily.”
Since the rollout of the vaccines, JSU has partnered with Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center to serve as a vaccination location, hosting weekly clinics that are open to the local community every Tuesday. Additionally, the university received a grant from the CDC Foundation to develop a marketing campaign to help reduce and prevent the disproportionate COVID-19 transmissions among African Americans ages 18-29 in the three Mississippi counties that have experienced the highest rates of coronavirus transmission: Hinds, Madison and Rankin. The Black population in Mississippi is 37.8 percent versus 59.1 percent for whites. However, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health to date, 3,576 Blacks (39.2 percent) have died in Mississippi compared to 5,209 whites (57.1 percent).
“HBCUs are stepping up to be a part of the solution when it comes to ending this pandemic because we serve the community that is at greatest risk for contracting this disease and at greatest risk for dying. I’m challenging all my fellow HBCUs to meet the 100 percent leadership challenge and stand in solidarity with us to protect our campuses, which, in turn, protects our communities-at-large,” said Hudson.