Iowa professor punished for requiring masks plans to do it again next semester
When University of Northern Iowa professor Steve O'Kane decided to require masks in his plant systematics class this fall, he was fully aware that he was breaking state Board of Regents policy. Last week, O'Kane was stripped of his ability to teach the class this semester as a result.
Still, he plans to require masks again next semester, even if it means termination.
"To not disobey is to admit defeat. And what the administration is forced to do – please note my words – what the administration is forced to do is immoral and unethical. And it all boils down to Iowa politics," O'Kane said in an interview.
O'Kane's defiance of the regents' policy prohibiting mask requirements is the largest escalation in what has been weeks of back-and-forth between faculty at UNI, Iowa State and the University of Iowa, their administrations and the Board of Regents over how to best protect the community from the spread of COVID-19.