Governor’s Office says Arizona university mask mandates ‘will not hold up in court’; protest planned

UA president Robert C. Robbins criticized the state law that he said prohibited the university from instituting mask mandates./University photo

By Lacey Latch | Arizona Republic

The debate over the legality of classroom mask mandates at Arizona’s three public universities continued Thursday, even as more colleges adopted a similar rule.

And backlash on the mandates announced by Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona also developed. The Maricopa County Young Republicans announced plans for a Friday protest on ASU’s main campus with a leading Republican candidate for governor.

The Arizona Board of Regents, the governing body that oversees the state’s public universities, supported the decisions in a statement released Thursday. The regents said they don’t believe the mandates violate state law.

“As students return to campus this fall, the Arizona Board of Regents has asked the university presidents to do everything in their power to keep our university communities healthy and safe while remaining open and offering an in-classroom experience,” said Regents’ Chair Lyndel Manson.

“The steps taken by our universities comply with the executive order related to university COVID-19 actions and state law, and the board supports our university presidents for taking measures they believe are necessary to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission on campus.”

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