GPB's Amanda Andrews reports on a protest at Georgia State University demanding more strict COVID-19 policy.

This year’s statewide campaign phrase for the United Campus Workers of Georgia is “Stop the Spread.” It’s part of the group's mission to address the University System of Georgia’s relaxed COVID-19 policies.

UCWG members at Georgia State University held a protest Monday to pressure the university to mandate masks on campus.

GSU sociology professor Wendy Simonds attended the protest, saying it’s time for GSU President M. Brian Blake to make a change.

“I’ve been here for over 25 years — I think this is my 26th — and I’ve never felt this unsafe on campus,” Simonds said. “I mean I’m really stunned that our president is going along with what I think he doesn’t believe in, which is the Board of Regents' so-called policy.”

That policy: The USG encourages students, staff and faculty to be vaccinated and wear masks, but doesn't require either measure. Professors also aren't allowed to enforce any additional mandates in their classrooms.

University faculty across Georgia encouraging students to wear masks in class are facing backlash — or worse. Recently, GSU instructor Cody Luedtke was fired for requiring masks in her classroom. A psychology professor at the University of Georgia resigned in the middle of class after a student refused to wear a mask.

Even with the threat of punishment, graduate teaching assistant Alexandra Tosone said UCWG members are committed to making the campus safe.

“Let President Blake and everyone else know that we are not going to just let it go, go away, and watch people die,” Tosone said. “We’re going to stand up, we’re going to yell about it, and we’re going to be upset. They’re just going to have to listen to us until it stops.”

Demonstrations are taking place across the state, and GSU members plan to have another protest Sept. 9 during the next Board of Regents meeting if the COVID-19 policy isn’t updated.