Democrat Rep. James Clyburn photographed maskless at mask-mandatory GWU event
Last week, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) spoke at George Washington University hosted by College Democrats.
GWU reinstated their indoor mask mandate several weeks ago, just one week after the previous mask mandate was lifted.
Clyburn was invited by the student organization to address the audience for "an evening with [the] House majority whip." The 81-year-old did not wear a mask despite the majority of the audience appearing to wear one to comply with the university mandate.
In addition to being the House Majority Whip, Clyburn also serves as the Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
This event took place two weeks after GWU’s Apr. 11 announcement reinstating the indoor mask mandate, which began on Apr. 12. The new guidelines require masks to be worn at all times indoors with few exceptions.
The decision came one week after the initial mask manded was rescinded on Apr. 4.
Instagram posts from Clyburn and GWU College Democrats show the representative speaking without a mask to what appears to be an entirely masked crowd, and standing inches away from masked students, and in one photo, an unmasked student.
The university cited an increase in COVID-19 positivity rates on campus and the D.C. area as the reason for reinstituting the indoor mask mandate, despite D.C. being at a low community level.
Clyburn is an outspoken proponent of following masking policies. In 2020, the congressman threatened to discontinue in-person coronavirus committee hearings due to those ignoring mask requirements.
Goldman acknowledged the CDC's reccomeded low community level, but referenced an increase in cases on campus following the week-long mask mandate reprieve.
“We still think cases matter, and not just when hospitals are strained.” Dr. Goldman wrote.
During an appearance on Newsmax, Campus Reform Correspondent and George Washington University student Ezra Meyer recounted the social repercussions that accompanied going maskless during the eight days before the mandate was restored.
“There were glares, and comments, and social media posts,” Meyer stated about going mask-free.
GWU encourages the community to confront behavior they believe to be contrary to the university’s COVID policy and has a non-compliance policy in place. The university also authorizes those on campus to anonymously report students, faculty, or staff who they observe to be in violation of COVID policies.
The university states that non-compliance may result in “immediate corrective action… until compliance is achieved, as well as well as potential disciplinary action.”
GWU is just one of many universities reimplementing on-campus mask mandates. According to a Campus Reform report, other schools include Columbia University, American University, Georgetown University, and Johns Hopkins University.
Campus Reform contacted all individuals and organizations mentioned in this article and will update accordingly.
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