Sen. Corman says Penn State would likely face ‘pushback in Harrisburg’ if it mandated COVID vaccines

  • Anne Danahy/WPSU

(State College) — State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman said he supports how Penn State has been responding to COVID-19, and while he would not want to pull the university’s state funding if it mandated vaccines, others in the General Assembly might.

“I don’t see how pulling their funding and punishing students because I don’t like something Penn State may or may not be doing is a good move,” Corman said. “So I’ve never taken that approach, personally. It doesn’t mean others would not.”

In a letter to the community explaining the university’s COVID-19 response, Penn State President Eric Barron noted that for the university to get state funding, it needs a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.

Corman, a Republican whose district includes Penn State, said he understands the university taking that into consideration.

Penn State is a state-related university. About 11% of its general funds budget comes from the state. That supports the cost of tuition for in-state students, who pay less than out-of-state students.

Corman said private enterprises have the right to do what they want when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines. But, public institutions have a different mandate, and Penn State and the other state-relateds are in the middle.

He said if Penn State does move to mandating vaccines, the university will need to figure out a way to accommodate students who do not get vaccinated.

“They’ve always taken the position that they were not going down this road,” Corman said. “So, I’ve never had a concern about it, because they always told me they weren’t going to do it. But, if they did, I’m sure there would be some pushback in Harrisburg.”

Republicans control both the state House and Senate.

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