Emory student newspaper: Require COVID-19 vaccine, but not for minority students

Emory University’s student newspaper editorial board wrote that BIPOC students should receive an exemption from any mandatory COVID-19 vaccine.

Campus Reform recently reported that Cornell University students can use their status as a “person of color” to be exempt from the university’s flu vaccine requirement.

Emory University’s student newspaper wrote that though the school should force some students to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Black, Indigenous, People of Color students should be able to receive an exemption.

The editorial board of the Emory Wheel urged the Atlanta university to “mandate all students and staff returning to campus receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

“If the University mandates vaccinations, some will inevitably object,” asserted the editors. “Those who do so on substantiated medical grounds or on the basis of religion should receive exemptions.”

[RELATED: Biden COVID task force member, UPenn prof questions benefits of vaccines for people over 75]

“Moreover, marginalized communities are rightfully wary of the vaccine due to the medical community’s historical maltreatment of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in the U.S.,” they continued. “The University must seriously acknowledge these doubts.”

The authors pointed to a history of medical racism in the United States, as well as “implicit bias” in quality of care: “Emory must remain mindful of this country’s extensive history of medical racism when encouraging others to receive the vaccine. Rather than shaming the wary, we, as a University, must combat misinformation and build trust between communities of color and the medical field.”

Campus Reform recently reported that Cornell University students can use their status as a “person of color” to be exempt from the university’s flu vaccine requirement.

[RELATED: Cornell offers ‘person of color’ exemption for flu vaccine requirement]

The Ivy League university employed similar logic as the editors of the Emory Wheel.

“We recognize that, due to longstanding systemic racism and health inequities in this country, individuals from some marginalized communities may have concerns about needing to agree to such requirements,” explained Cornell Health’s FAQ page. “For example, historically, the bodies of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) have been mistreated, and used by people in power, sometimes for profit or medical gain.”

Jasmine Jaffe, president of Emory University College Republicans, told Campus Reform that the Emory Wheel’s argument is “clearly anti-scientific and shameful.”

“The editors at the Emory Wheel have perfectly exhibited the bigotry of low expectations through its misconception that BIPOC, specifically those who undertake an Emory education, have no capability of researching or understanding the benefits of the vaccine,” she explained. “It is not only racist to make assertions like those in their article, but actively undermines the confidence of the vaccine’s implementation and Emory’s standards of equality for all.”

Another Emory University undergraduate, who wished to remain anonymous because “issues of race get people riled up more than just about anything else,” told Campus Reform that “the Wheel’s editorial board is proposing a clear and dangerous violation of the fourteenth amendment.”

These are the people who will tell you that race is a social construct and in the same breath argue for racialized policymaking,” he said. “

He explained that “the Wheel’s editorial board wants to infringe on the freedoms of White students while offering exemptions for non-White students… the EB is subscribed to an ideology that puts class and race over the individual, focusing solely on historical injustices to legitimize their position.” 

Such a view, he explained, is “not the vision of Martin Luther King Jr., but that of Ibram X. Kendi.

“To them, equality under the law has been reinterpreted as a utopian ideal of equality of outcome,” he continued. “They refuse to advocate for treating everyone as an individual. Thus they live in an ironic conflict of vision: They want to replace our formerly-racialized society (‘historical racism’) with one that does the same (vaccination requirements based on race), rather than living by the maxim, ‘judge not by the color of his skin.’ This isn’t a straw man: It’s the ideology they actually believe in.”

“The proposal to create mandates or requirements based on race is discriminatory on its face and I hope the administration dismisses this laughable proposal,” he concluded.

Campus Reform reached out to the Emory Wheel editorial board for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft