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TAMUK student fighting wear-mask for extra credit policy

Posted at 7:21 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 16:06:49-04

KINGSVILLE, Texas — Texas A&M-Kingsville University freshman Maya Martinez has only been on campus for about a week, but she's already taking advantage of a policy in one of her courses that rewards her for wearing a mask.

"I’m going to wear it when I go (to class) so I can get the extra points,” she said.

It's unclear how many professors are offering extra credit to students who wear masks to their TAMUK classes.

Junior Matthew Mendoza is in such a class -- and he's not happy about the policy.

"I just want no extra credit if you have a mask on," he said. "Rules and guidelines were, it’s your choice. So it’s your choice. Don’t make it an advantage for somebody because they think differently.”

Masks are optional at TAMUK, but administrators strongly encourage students to wear them.

Mendoza took his opposition to the extra credit for mask-wearing policy to those school leaders, but he wasn't satisfied with the emails and phone conversations he had with them.

“I didn’t really like the way that went," he said. "I thought there had to be a better answer. So that’s why I reached out (to KRIS 6 News).”

University leaders responded to our request for comments on this situation Thursday with a statement that read in part, "Faculty have been asked to think creatively about how best to promote pandemic mitigation in their classrooms. One option faculty can pursue is offering limited extra credit to students who wear face coverings in class. This is a measure that faculty at several other Texas universities are also offering this semester."

Mendoza doesn't know what his next move will be in his fight to end the policy, but he's hopeful school leaders will change their minds.

“I just want them to come in and say you can’t give extra credit for having a mask," he said. "There’s really nothing else. I don’t want anyone to get in trouble for it."

And as for Martinez, she'll continue to collect extra credit for wearing her mask -- a move she says also further protects her against COVID-19.

“I am vaccinated, so it’s a little less concerning," she said.