On the same day his school won a lawsuit before the state supreme court affirming its right to impose a campus-wide mask mandate on students, teachers and faculty, University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides was spotted at an indoor, school-related event in the Palmetto Upstate not wearing a mask.
Nor practicing social distancing, for that matter …
Do I support mask mandates? No, I do not. But you would think those pushing such edicts might recognize the need to “walk their talk.”
Pastides – one of the higher educrats embracing mask mandates as a solution to rising infections, hospitalizations and deaths linked to the delta variant of the coronavirus – announced yesterday that he was reimposing the campus-wide mask mandate in the aftermath of the court’s unanimous ruling.
South Carolina originally imposed its mask mandate in late July, but a ruling from attorney general Alan Wilson put the implementation of the diktat on hold. Ultimately, the supreme court sided with the school – arguing state legislators had failed to “prohibit a universal mask mandate.”
Wilson argued (correctly, in my estimation) that lawmakers clearly intended to ban masks when they inserted a trio of temporary regulations – or “provisos” – in the current fiscal year’s budget.
However, the specific language they included to address taxpayer-funded institutions of higher learning only prohibited mask mandates for unvaccinated students, teachers and staff.
“Today’s South Carolina supreme court ruling clears the way for the university to require face coverings on our campus,” Pastides said. “On July 23, we were the first institution in the state to mandate face coverings. I will require the use of face coverings in our buildings, effective immediately, as an effective strategy in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of all members of our Gamecock community to help protect ourselves and others by adopting sound public health practices as we continue our efforts to safeguard our campus against this still-evolving health concern.”
Take a look …
(Click to view)
(Via: Greenville Gamecocks/ Facebook)
“We had a wonderful time last night visiting with president and Mrs. Pastides!” the group noted on its Facebook page. “Thanks to everyone who came out in spite of the threatening weather.”
A previous post referenced the club’s members as having a “great time” with Pastides and his wife.
“Always a pleasure to have him in town!” the post noted. “Greenville is a proud Gamecock community!”
Maybe so, but not a proud mask-wearing community, it would appear …
“These are pictures taken after South Carolina announced the mask mandate for all indoor spaces,” one source said. “Seems like Pastides and his guests are having a hard time following.”
“Rules for thee, but not me,” the source added.
A university source told me the event was an “off-campus” gathering, meaning Pastides and his guests were not obligated to adhere to the school’s mask mandate.
This is a developing story … check back for updates.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Boston Red Sox lid pictured above).
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