Siena College in New York is encountering criticism over its decision to require students to have a coronavirus vaccine booster before returning to campus for the spring semester.

Alex Feuz, who previously served as the baseball team student manager, told the school he was "deeply disappointed" in the decision, which was announced Thursday, and raised concerns about the effects a mandate would have on the student body.

Pfizer vaccine

A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe Dec. 2, 2021, at a mobile vaccination clinic in Worcester, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

"I am deeply disappointed with the decision Siena College made … mandating the COVID vaccine booster even while the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] never changed the definition of fully vaccinated to include the booster … Cases are rising, but how many positive cases are people fully vaccinated with a booster? There is no way to find that updated, accurate number, but we can find multiple others."

Alex Feuz

Alex Feuz, team manager for Siena College's baseball team. (Alex Feuz)

Feuz went on to express concerns about existing data on the vaccine and worried that mandates would "further divide our college campus, an illustration of what is taking place across the country."


"Public and private colleges and universities in many states do not mandate vaccines, while others do, enhancing the simple fact that mandates are being portrayed to be politically driven, instead of what is best for our health."

Supreme Court protester

A lone protester stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court as it hears arguments against the Biden administration's nationwide COVID-19 mandates in Washington Jan. 7, 2022. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Siena's mandate requires that students receive the booster in addition to a COVID-19 test 5-7 days prior to returning to campus.

"Throughout this pandemic, Siena College has consistently endeavored to balance our top priorities of safety, mental health and a flourishing academic and extracurricular student experience," Siena College said in a statment it released to Fox News Digital.

"The vaccine has been transformational in our ability to deliver on these priorities. This past fall, a vaccine requirement helped to facilitate a successful term with in-person classes and activities marked by an exceptionally low number of positive cases. 

"We were able to accomplish our goals without requiring masks. In fact, once vaccinated, students enjoyed campus life with virtually no COVID restrictions. Given the arrival of the omicron variant, along with medical evidence demonstrating that the efficacy of COVID vaccines wanes over time, we updated our approach to require a vaccine booster for students as they become eligible so that they can once again enjoy the full Siena experience."

College President Chris Gibson has also urged caution for the risks associated with the virus.


"We are on the path to relegating the COVID-19 scourge to endemic status. In the meantime, we must respect the risks and appropriately adapt to the current climate given the arrival of the omicron variant," Gibson said.

"Reflecting on this past fall, we experienced a safe and lively semester, which offered confirmation that our approach to the virus and our commitment to the Siena experience is working. Looking ahead to the spring, I expect the same vibrant atmosphere guided largely by the same protocol that facilitated our successful fall term."