GV’s Seidman College of Business hosts vaccine mandate workshop


GVL / Jonathan Lantiegne

Grace Smith, Staff Writer

Many small business owners in the Grand Rapids area have been struggling with whether or not to mandate vaccinations for their employees. As there are many ramifications on both stances due to the current political climate, many small business owners have found themselves at a stalemate. Many small businesses only consist of a handful of employees, the dissatisfaction of a few could be detrimental to company morale or staffing. 

“Obviously you want to do what you can to keep your employees safe, but if I was to mandate a vaccine, I could easily lose 2-3 employees,” said small business owner Andrew Smith. “Now if I was running a big corporation, I could lose ten times that and it wouldn’t matter, but 2-3 people for me is over half my staff, which makes you wonder if it’s really worth it.”

To aid in this deliberation, a workshop discussing the medical, legal, and ethical implications of mandating a vaccine within a small business will be held on Oct. 8 through Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business. Attendees will meet virtually on ZOOM from 6-8 p.m. 

At the event, participants will have the opportunity to hear from three experts in their respective fields. First, they will hear from Dr. Alejandro Quiroga. Quiroga is a highly regarded pediatric nephrologist, as well as the senior vice president of population health at Spectrum Health.

Second, Erik Daly will follow up with the legal perspective on the matter. Daly is a member of the business section at Miller and Johnson and has practiced corporate law since 2007.

Finally, attendees will hear from the curator of the event, Michael DeWilde. As a professor of management at GVSU and director of the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative, DeWilde plans on sharing ethical implications in regard to corporate vaccine mandates. 

“(Speaking with) many small business owners, who really haven’t come down on one side or the other in terms of whether they should enforce a mandate in their businesses,” DeWilde said. “It will be an attempt to speak to people who are really unsure about what to do, and hopefully give them some credible information to help them make a decision.” 

DeWilde said that the speakers at this event do not represent the institutional opinions of GVSU, as their decision on whether or not to mandate a vaccine has already been made. The comments made by presenters strictly represent comments on vaccine mandates in relation to their respective fields of study, in hopes to aid business owners in making the right decisions for their companies. 

Finally, DeWilde said that students and business owners alike are welcome to bring their questions about vaccine mandates to the panel for discussion as well. During the meeting, there will be a designated individual monitoring the chat for questions to ensure that they are addressed appropriately by the presenters. 

DeWilde asks that prospective attendees RSVP through the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s website. However, participants are still allowed to join the meeting without prior communication to the hosts. 

For more information on this event, please visit, https://www.gvsu.edu/cei/module-events-index.htm?siteModuleId=F6AB35CD-CA08-D673-8351AA441A225B12