The collateral effects of the mandates seem undeniable. Universities have not just driven away students and faculty more skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters; they are also driving away students and faculty with different views on all sorts of other issues.
What can you do as an individual against a multi-million dollar institution full of important people with doctorates? What if you get cancelled? What if you lose everything you have worked for? These are important considerations. But remember this, 21st-century universities are commercial enterprises and you are their customers. They don’t exist without you.
Both universities and governments imposed extreme policies, extending to the micro-management of everyday life during lockdowns and gross violations of human rights, including the right to bodily autonomy. These extreme policies were not supported by hard evidence of effectiveness either at the time or since.
Human beings hate to be proven wrong. And credentialed humans even more so than the rest. Consequently, they will go to mind-bending extremes to sustain that their clearly equivocal actions were, in fact, heartily justified. Moreover, misery truly does love company.
One of the most nonsensical aspects of continuing COVID-19 vaccine mandates is that individuals who survived the mandates last year – that is, were fortunate enough to be granted religious and/or medical exemptions – have to reapply this year. Did these religious reasons suddenly change without the person complying with the mandate initially? Did these medical reasons that were severe enough to compel a physician to write an exemption suddenly go away?
Stanford should end its vaccine mandate entirely. It’s an unscientific and unethical imposition on students who do not need protection from COVID-19 with vaccines or otherwise. And that includes the Stanford students who are on campus, going to class, and those without prior infection and natural immunity. COVID-19 was never a major threat to us young people, and it still isn’t.
The road to healing and rebuilding ahead is still long, but as a first step we must take responsibility, admit that we have lost our way, and ask our children for heartfelt forgiveness. At the same time, we must direct massive resources toward our children in order to repair the harm of the past two years, in both the socio-emotional and the educational spheres.
Mask mandates have done their best to engender a school environment that is devoid of human connection and visible emotion; is this what we hoped for when mandatory masking went back into place in May 2021? The administration’s decision to renege on this transition indicates they are willing to forcibly mask everyone in perpetuity. For a policy that is ineffective at best and harmful to the mental health of many members of the university body, this is unacceptable.
Back then, hundreds of professors associated with Yale University organized a letter with signatures to send to the White House. The letter was dated March 2, 2020. It was signed by 800 credentialed professionals largely from the fields of epidemiology and medicine. It might have taken us in a different direction than the one in which governments took us soon after it was published.