A recent petition created by the University of Wisconsin Stout College Republicans has been attempting to gain momentum across Menomonie and the UW-Stout community. According to the Stout Republican’s petition, the group is asking for support in the fight to un-mask campus. 

In an interview with the Stout College Republicans, the organization stated, “We want to get the chancellor’s attention with numbers. We hope to not see another extension on masking, and our next action depends on the chancellor’s response.” The Stout College Republicans also wish to have as many petition signatures as possible, and said they hope every student who is passionate about this issue will sign the petition.

“This was a group decision to start this petition,” the President of Stout College Republicans, Levi Douty, said. “People in the student body care about this issue, and we believe we are standing up for that student body.” 

Other members of the Stout College Republicans continued upon Douty’s statement, stating, “We are hoping for mutual respect between the UW-Stout administration and its students. Nobody should be mandating or forcing students to do something they don’t want to do. We have the right to make our own decisions.”

When reaching out to Chancellor Frank, she had this to say regarding the petition: “Throughout the course of the pandemic, we have made decisions based on the prioritization of the health and safety of the faculty, staff, students and the community.  We will continue to do so going forward.” 

“It is too early to know if our masking and testing order will be extended past Jan. 23, 2022. As stated in the Nov. 23, 2021 Fall Break update email, we will continue to evaluate our COVID-19 protocols for the spring semester in consultation with UW System and the Dunn County Health Department,” Chancellor Frank said. Chancellor Frank further stated that UW-Stout does not anticipate mandating any of the vaccines for Stout students.

“Our Return to Spring plan will outline important information, protocols and expectations related to COVID-19 for faculty, staff, students and visitors for the Spring 2022 semester. We have released similar plans for each semester since the Fall 2020 semester,” Chancellor Frank said. 

Although some support the idea to un-mask campus, others entirely disagree with the proposed petition from Stout College Republicans. “We should keep the mask mandate,” UW-Stout fourth-year, Beau Luzar, said on a public forum. “Covid is a real thing and it is active.“ 

Luzar says they do not support the petition’s movement to rid of the UW-Stout mask mandate. Luzar believes it is selfish for people to want masks removed. 

The petition currently has just over 1000 signatures.