A student studies in the library while wearing a face covering.
TCU students are currently required to wear a mask while on-campus. (Heesoo Yang/Staff Photographer)
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Texas plans to rollback its COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandate Wednesday, but TCU plans to keep its precautions in place.

Chancellor Victor Boschini told the Faculty Senate Thursday that TCU won’t be adopting the state’s stance.

“No, we are not stopping on any of our precautions,” Boschini said. “We are going to be as vigilant as we can.”

On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans to rescind the statewide mask mandate and allow all businesses to operate at full capacity.

Following that announcement, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley immediately lifted the county’s mask mandate.

On Wednesday, Faculty Senate held an emergency electronic vote on a a resolution calling for TCU to continue its face covering policy in the wake of these orders being lifted.

It passed with a clear majority.

“Abandoning our policy of required face coverings runs counter to the advice of both local and federal agencies and would certainly bring increased risk to the campus community.” Faculty Senate resolution

Texas Gove. Greg Abbott delivers an announcement in Montelongo’s Mexican Restaurant, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Lubbock, Texas. Governor Abbott announced that he is rescinding executive orders that limit capacities for businesses and the statewide mask mandate. [Justin Rex/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal via AP)

Tarrant County Public Health is still reporting community spread of COVID-19. The CDC and TCPH are still recommending the use of face coverings and physical distancing.

Boschini called for TCU faculty to help enforce all precautions and encourage students to continue to wear masks.

“I have found whenever I ask a kid nicely, they always do it, and a lot of times just because you’re wearing it, it’ll embarrass them into doing it,” Boschini said.

There were 9 active cases and none reported among on-campus students as of Friday, according to TCU.

Faculty Senate endorsed broad response to trustee’s remarks

The Faculty Senate also approved a resolution affirming its commitment to the university’s mission after disparaging comments by Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, in January.

Read More: Faculty Senate calls special meeting to discuss response to Rep. Roger Williams

Last month, Faculty Senate rejected a statement critical of Williams written by by faculty members who are launching a chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

The ad hoc committee’s response “Affirming the Faculty’s commitment to the Mission, Vision, and Values of the University” doesn’t mention Williams, who also sits on the board of trustees, by name.

Some senators wanted to make an amendment to the wording of the document to make it a more direct response to Williams.

Senate member Joshua Bentley explained that the resolution was purposefully not a direct response. Its role was to craft a statement of principles that did not directly engage with Williams, he said.

“There is something of value to getting your ideological opponents to admit that what you said is right,” said Bentley. “And if they’re being hypocritical when they do that then, you know that’s on them.”

The resolution passed with 88 percent support.

The Beto Cruz Award: honoring a TCU employee

“Jose” Adalberto Cruz-Hurtado was 62 years old. (Photo courtesy of Adalberto-Cruz family)

The Faculty Senate also announced plans for an award and art piece in honor of a TCU staff member who died due to COVID-19 complications earlier this year.

Read More: TCU employee dies of complications related to COVID-19

The award honoring Jose Aldaberto Cruz-Hurtado will be given annually to TCU employees who work behind the scenes and “exemplify a positive interaction with the broader TCU community.”

The inaugural award will be a monetary gift to Cruz’s family. In the coming years, the award will be given to a staff member or a contract worker, such as a Sodexo worker or bus driver, who exemplifies the qualities that Cruz is remembered for.

The award will be given out every two years and the recipient will receive a monetary award and see their name added to an art piece.

The Faculty Senate is working with artists to create the piece, with early plans for it to be a “Tree of Life” placed somewhere on campus.

The piece will honor Cruz and the work of TCU staff and award recipient’s names will be added to the leaves of the tree.

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