Civil Rights Group Challenges ‘Flawed’ Vaccine Mandate at George Mason University

July 25, 2021 in News by RBN Staff

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA – JANUARY 13: Alexander Espinoza of V&G Cleaning Services uses an electromagnetic sanitizer with hospital-grade disinfectant to sterilize the George Mason Patriots basketball locker room against the novel coronavirus after their men’s NCAA basketball game against the La Salle Explorers at Eagle Bank Arena on January 13, 2021 in Fairfax, Virginia. George Mason University has been taking necessary precautions to mitigate risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Their efforts include reduced fan attendance, public health announcements, and continual disinfecting, cleaning to keep its players, coaches, staff, and visiting teams safe – among other policies. In an attempt to safely conduct March Madness, the NCAA recently announced its entire men’s basketball postseason tournament would be held in Indianapolis in a bubble-like format. The 68 teams competing for the national championship under this plan is in response to the coronavirus pandemic that canceled their 2020 men and women’s tournament.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A civil rights group is calling on George Mason University (GMU) executives to reconsider their vaccination requirement for staff and students in the fall semester, claiming it is a scientifically “irrational” policy that violates constitutional rights and medical ethics.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group that seeks “to protect constitutional freedoms from violations by the Administrative State,” said in a July 22 press release that GMU’s “flawed reopening policy” for the fall semester “tramples on the civil liberties of students, faculty, and employees alike.”

The Fairfax, Virginia-based university on Thursday announced new vaccination requirements for the fall semester, citing the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the strain of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers to be more transmissible and potentially more resistant to vaccines.

“Mason is joining the growing community of universities that require all students, faculty, and staff to get vaccinated, and to share verification of their vaccination status, in order to work, study, and live on campus,” GMU said in a statement. “We will, of course, approve appropriate exemptions for medical and religious reasons.”

GMU president Gregory Washington, in an email reported on by Just The News, wrote that disclosure of vaccination status “will be a prerequisite for eligibility for any future merit pay increases” for faculty staff.

NCLA represents Todd Zywicki, a professor at GMU’s Scalia Law School who has recovered from COVID-19.

“For Professor Zywicki, who has recovered from COVID-19 and acquired robust natural immunity, it is not only medically unnecessary to undergo a vaccination procedure at the current time, but doing so also would create a risk of harm to him,” NCLA wrote in the release.

In a letter (pdf) to GMU executives, NCLA urged them to reconsider their vaccination policy, arguing that the university’s refusal to recognize natural immunity or grant merit pay to staff who don’t share their vaccination status could lead to a lawsuit. The civil rights group is challenging GMU’s vaccination policy on grounds of the 9th and 14th Amendments.

“Although the Policy may be well-intentioned, GMU has breached its constitutional and ethical obligations by interfering with health decisions that should reside with individuals and their medical providers,” NCLA wrote.

NCLA urged GMU to re-examine the policy, “to deem natural immunity at least equivalent to that achieved through vaccination, and to confirm that Professor Zywicki will not lose eligibility for future pay raises (merit or otherwise) if he does not wish to share his vaccination status.”

Zywicki, in a statement, said: “George Mason is forcing me to choose between serving my students on one hand and undergoing an unnecessary and potentially risky medical procedure on the other. Multiple clinical studies have shown that natural immunity provides at least as much protection against reinfection as the most effective vaccines.”

GMU did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vaccine mandates have become a hot-button issue, with advocates arguing they’re needed to keep people safe, while opponents decrying them as unacceptable violations of bodily autonomy.