While the Proposed Resolution on a Vaccine Mandate (PRoaVM) states “THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Faculty Assembly supports mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all students and employees by January 1, 2022, with limited legally mandated exceptions,” the Faculty Assembly’s arguments for supporting this statement highlight a lack of genuine care and support for WVU’s students’ personal growths during their collegiate career because any policy that does not respect the dignity of the individual can yield positive results for society.
Based on the PRoaVM, if the concern for mandating Comirnaty, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, is offering an in-person education, then WVU should simply open the doors for in- person instruction and let each student decide for themselves the precautions they need for their personal health.
If the concern is mental health, then WVU should definitely not allow forced vaccinations because the use of force is damaging to an individual’s mental health and it perpetuates a culture of fearmongering and complacency.
If the concern is interruptions from possible COVID-19 outbreaks, then WVU should change their overarching regulatory COVID- 19 policies that cause students and faculty to miss class unnecessarily (e.g., No more being contact traced to someone when you were already social distancing.)
If the concern is protecting everyone’s physical health, then we should look beyond vaccines. Comirnaty is not perfectly effective and can have unintended consequences (including myocarditis and pericarditis, occurring mostly in young people) just like these mandates have.
Also, COVID-19 vaccine efficacy is dropping (so much that a booster-shot will almost definitely be needed. [Which, would that also become mandated? How long would WVU be able to determine what is inoculated into your body?]) and outbreaks among vaccinated individuals are rapidly rising.
In addition, new forms of therapeutics and treatment options against COVID-19 are becoming available.
Lastly, when you tack on the great odds of survival from COVID-19, over 99% for the majority of students on campus, the risk-to-benefit ratio is ludicrous to mandate Comirnaty.
With all this in mind, because the PRoaVM was not created for the individual, mandating Comirnaty is a clear initiative to create a greater complacent student body by taking away WVU’s students’ right to accept or decline an experimental (think about it; while Comirnaty is approved by the FDA, what other vaccine has ever been approved before its long-term effects were known?) medical treatment, opening the door for WVU faculty and bureaucracy to impose more drastic mandates in the future that could reach beyond the scope of physical health.
If they can force someone to take Comirnaty, then at what point does WVU cross the line in creating policies that regulate the lives of the student body?
Where is the line?
At what point is too much regulation of the private lives and choices of the students? Plus, since 73.46% of faculty and 75.91% of students have already received a COVID-19 vaccine according to the most recent update on WVU’s Return to Campus Website, what is so important about the need to force the remaining minority to fall in line with the majority?
Hasn’t WVU already done enough to coerce, pressure, and hound people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
This movement for complete uniformity through mandating Comirnaty is an assault against individual dignity and personal liberty; yet it is the individual spirit that has and will continue to drive the institution of the university forward for generations.
WVU, after a year of COVID-19 learning, needs to step aside and let students take charge of their education and not let a group of faculty members, no matter how large or vocal, force students to behave in lockstep, despite their enticing end goal.
The only things in life we control are our actions and reactions. If outside actors can control these two things, then freedom ceases to exist.
Armâan Karimpour is a sophomore Music Performance Major at the College of Creative Arts and a member of the Honors College.