Monday, September 21, 2020

West Virginia U. President Gordon Gee Requires Students to Wear Masks - but Doesn't Wear One Himself

West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee — who has required students at his school to wear masks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic — was photographed at a drugstore over the weekend failing to follow his own rule.

“Love seeing Gordon Gee out with no mask on,” wrote one Twitter user alongside several eye-roll emojis. The tweet included photos of the university president browsing the aisles of local CVS with a mask in hand, rather than on his face.

Love seeing Gordon Gee out with no mask on 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄 pic.twitter.com/KpIkgjARmw

— Zaddy (@zslice6996) September 13, 2020

Last month, the university published a “Welcome Home” video which featured President Gee addressing students who would be returning to campus for the fall semester. In the video, the university president implored students to “wear a mask.”

“We take the responsibility of safety very seriously, and will do all we can to keep you healthy, but part of that responsibility also falls on you,” said Gee in the video. “Remember that protocols that have been repeated over the past few months. Wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear a mask.”

“As a matter a fact, I’m starting to accumulate as many masks as I have bow ties, and I’m counting on you to follow the guidelines to keep this 76-year-old healthy so we can safely resume selfies in the near future,” he added.

In July, Gee took to Twitter to concur with the West Virginia governor Jim Justice’s mask mandate in the response to the Wuhan coronavirus.

“I appreciate Governor Justice’s continued effort to keep West Virginians as safe as possible from COVID-19,” wrote Gee. “The mask mandate is the right thing for West Virginia.”

I appreciate Governor Justice’s continued effort to keep West Virginians as safe as possible from COVID-19. The mask mandate is the right thing for West Virginia. https://t.co/njsdLK0TxR

— E. Gordon Gee (@gordongee) July 6, 2020

After being exposed for not following his own advice regarding masks, Gee issued an apology on Twitter, stating, “Earlier I was shopping and did not keep my mask on for the entirety of my time in the store.”

“As president, I must hold myself to the highest of standards and set the very best example for our University,” he added. “In this instance, I did not do that.”

Earlier I was shopping and did not keep my mask on for the entirety of my time in the store. As president, I must hold myself to the highest of standards and set the very best example for our University. In this instance, I did not do that.

— E. Gordon Gee (@gordongee) September 14, 2020

“As I have asked you to do the right things, so must you expect me to do the same,” Gee continued. “I apologize for the error in judgment and commit that it will not happen again.”

As I have asked you to do the right things, so must you expect me to do the same. I apologize for the error in judgment and commit that it will not happen again.

— E. Gordon Gee (@gordongee) September 14, 2020

Not everyone, however, appeared to accept Gee’s apology, as many reacted by pointing out the university president’s apparent hypocrisy, mentioning students who have been suspended for not wearing masks.

“All of the kids that were suspended should be reinstated immediately,” wrote one Twitter user in response to Gee’s apology tweet.

All of the kids that were suspended should be reinstated immediately.

— C. Hartsell (@CLH_offthewall) September 14, 2020

“nope! you should be treated the same way you treated the multiple students you have sent home,” said another. “punished the maximum extent. forcing students to go home AND unenrolling them from their classes, considering this is how you behave is a JOKE.”

nope! you should be treated the same way you treated the multiple students you have sent home. punished the maximum extent. forcing students to go home AND unenrolling them from their classes, considering this is how you behave is a JOKE

— Tim (@TFialho195) September 14, 2020

“Are u giving the students you suspended a second chance?” asked another Twitter user.

Are u giving the students you suspended a second chance?

— Cole Mathis (@CMathis_WVU) September 14, 2020

“When are we getting refunded for on campus things that we pay for but aren’t being used??” inquired another.

When are we getting refunded for on campus things that we pay for but aren't being used??

— JG2 (@_J_G_2) September 14, 2020

“I just find it hilarious that after everything you tweet about COVID and how we need to take it seriously, you do this?” commented another individual.

I just find it hilarious that after everything you tweet about COVID and how we need to take it seriously, you do this?

— Baylee Roberts (@bayleeroberts_7) September 14, 2020

“Where’s your suspension?” asked another.

Where’s your suspension?

— Lewis Alexander Halstead (@LewisHalstead) September 14, 2020

“Rules for thee but not for Gee,” quipped another individual.

Rules for thee but not for Gee

— The Panic (@Gunntwitt) September 14, 2020

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

Alana Mastrangelo

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