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Opinion | Mandate Covid Vaccines for Students

To the Editor:

Re “F.D.A. Approves Pfizer’s Vaccine for Ages 12 to 15” (front page, May 11):

Now that Covid vaccines will be made available to children 12 and over, New York City and State should consider making the vaccine mandatory for students 12 years and older to return to school in the fall. Students currently need to be vaccinated to prevent the spread of highly communicable diseases like measles, polio, chickenpox, diphtheria, etc.

Parents should be given ample time to comply with any mandate adding Covid to the list.

Furthermore, now that the vaccine is widely available to adults, should not those who are employed by the schools — administrators, teachers, aides, cafeteria workers, security officers, etc. — present proof of vaccination as a condition of employment in September? I have heard politicians say schools are safe and they are making changes to ensure that fact, yet nothing about mandating vaccinations.

Lawrence Abrams
New York
The writer is a retired principal.

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Says Unemployed Must Accept Job Offers” (Business, May 11):

Can we state the obvious? If getting the Covid unemployment subsidy pays better than going to work, can we admit that many workers are severely underpaid for the work they do? It seems that some employers cannot hire workers for the wage they want to offer, not the wage that is fair.

Jan Owens
Mount Pleasant, Wis.

To the Editor:

Re “There’s No Classics ‘Catastrophe’ at Howard University,” by Brandon Hogan and Jacoby Adeshei Carter (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, May 2):

The stark contrast in endowments between the Ivies and Howard University, while not surprising, is, paradoxically, shocking.

The enormous Ivy endowments were typically seeded by individuals whose fortunes were earned through the slave trade or as slave owners, as well as by industrialists who prospered from the cheap cotton picked by slaves. To this day, Ivy endowments grow with gifts derived from white privilege.

Meanwhile, racial discrimination and systemic racism have hampered the ability of graduates of historically black colleges and universities (H.B.C.U.s) to accumulate the wealth required to make the large bequests that Ivies receive year in, year out.

We do not believe that the political will exists in our country to act on reparations. We therefore believe that the time has come for a nongovernmental approach to reparations and see higher education as the logical place to start.

Beyond Howard, there are more than 100 H.B.C.U.s that in total educate about 300,000 students annually. Combined, the endowments of these H.B.C.U.s falls just short of $3 billion.

We call upon the 100 wealthiest historically white colleges and universities to contribute 1 percent of their collective $500 billion endowments to an H.B.C.U. Endowment Fund annually for the next decade. Over a decade, this would create a $50 billion fund. While the discrepancies would still be enormous, this would represent an extraordinary first step.

Karim Sahyoun
Susanne Beck
James Berkman
Mr. Sahyoun is a former college trustee, Ms. Beck is a journalist and Mr. Berkman is a former head of school.

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