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

Civil Rights Group Challenges ‘Flawed’ Vaccine Mandate at George Mason University
A worker uses a sanitizer to sterilize the George Mason Patriots basketball locker room, in Fairfax, Va., on Jan. 13, 2021. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Tom Ozimek

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 that it’s 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 statement that GMU’s “flawed reopening policy” for the fall semester “tramples on the civil liberties of students, faculty, and employees alike.”
The Fairfax, Virginia, university announced on July 22 its 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.

The 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,” the NCLA wrote in the statement.

In a letter (pdf) to GMU executives, the 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 the grounds of the Ninth 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,” the NCLA wrote.

The NCLA urged GMU to reexamine 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.”

“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,” Zywicki said in a statement.

GMU officials didn’t respond to a request by the Epoch Times for comment by press time.

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