SC Supreme Court says state law does not prohibit mask mandate at UofSC

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– In an opinion released Tuesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court found that the state’s proviso does not prohibit the institution of a mask mandate at the University of South Carolina.

This comes after UofSC Professor Dr. Richard Creswick sought the court’s opinion on whether Proviso 117.190 prohibited the university from implementing a mask mandate. On July 30, UofSC interim President Dr. Harris Pastides had previously implemented a mandate requiring that masks be work inside campus buildings. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson responded on August 2, saying that the mandate violated the proviso. The next day, Dr. Pastides said the university would now only require masks in the university’s health care facilities and on campus transportation.

The opinion from the State Supreme Court states UofSC is not prohibited from implementing a mask mandate.

“Nothing in the proviso manifests the General Assembly’s intent to prohibit all mask mandates at public institutions of higher learning. Instead, the proviso clearly prevents state supported institutions of higher education from using funds from the 2021-2022 appropriations to fund efforts requiring only unvaccinated individuals to wear facemasks,” said the court in its opinion.

The full opinion can be found here.

AG Wilson responded to the court’s opinion, saying “We said all along the proviso was inartfully drafted. While we disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling, we certainly understand its rationale and anticipated this was a reading the Court could give. In fact, the Court quoted our letter to President Pastides that stated the proviso could be read another way. While the proviso was not clear, we think the legislature’s intent was, so now it’s up to the University of South Carolina to address this matter in light of the General Assembly’s position.”

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