Important information for SMU employees about federal vaccine mandate

UPDATE [12/8/2021]: Since this announcement was initially made, a federal judge in Georgia entered a nationwide injunction that temporarily stopped the enforcement of Executive Order (EO 14042). SMU is now pausing the requirement that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022, unless and until the courts instruct otherwise. Follow for the latest updates.


Friday, November 19, 2021

Dear SMU community,

The pandemic has threatened what matters most to our community and the rest of the world – our health and well-being, our times together and cherished traditions. Yet, through it all, our campus has met these challenges and remained Mustang Strong. Now, we face another one.

SMU must comply with President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 14042 requiring those that receive federal contracts and their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022. Although EO  14042 faces multiple legal challenges and a separate federal vaccine mandate has been halted by court action, this EO currently remains active and requires our compliance. We will continue to monitor these developments and how they might impact our response.

The EO applies to research universities that accept funding through various federal contracts. It requires all SMU employees (anyone paid through the University’s payroll system) ­– faculty, staff, adjunct faculty, temporary employees including those contracted through Kelly Services, student workers, graduate research/teaching assistants/associates and postdoctoral scholars – to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they apply for and are granted an exemption for religious or medical reasons. To request an accommodation, please apply through the Office of Institutional Access and Equity by December 17 to ensure that it can be evaluated before the deadline.

Approximately 75% of faculty and 65% of staff have confirmed that they are vaccinated. Those of you who received your vaccine at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center or previously uploaded your vaccination card to the University health portal have met the vaccination requirement of the executive order. If you received the vaccine at an off-campus location but have not yet uploaded your vaccination information, please do so by December 1. If you have not gotten the vaccine, there is still time to do so before the January 18 deadline. Depending upon the vaccine that you choose, you may need to obtain the first dose by December 7. (see below).

Frequently Asked Questions

We know you may have many questions. Please see the answers to some of the most common ones below.

Until now, we have strongly encouraged, but not required, the vaccine. This EO makes COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment and is mandatory. If you are not vaccinated or have not received an accommodation by January 18, University employment policies will apply, which can result in discipline up to and including unpaid leave and /or termination.

I am sure you have questions about how this change affects you personally, so we have added more answers to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Mustang Strong website to address masking and other safety requirements that are part of the mandate. Also, more information and updates will be provided as we move forward.

We will continue our efforts to keep this campus safe and healthy while navigating these changing circumstances. You and your colleagues are vital to the educational mission of SMU. We value your dedication and don’t want to lose you, so please get vaccinated and stay Mustang Strong.


R. Gerald Turner

R. Gerald Turner

SMU President