Stop Booster Mandates for College Students in Virginia

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Petition Delivered!

2022-01-30 21:34:25

Thanks for signing and supporting the petition. I delivered it via email to the President and Board Chairman/Rector of each school listed in the petition, except for George Mason, since they recently rescinded their booster mandate. With the recent official opinion on the vaccine mandates delivered by AG Miyares, I think we're striking while the iron is hot.  I've included below the text of the cover letter that I sent with the petition. As noted near the end, I will not rest in this struggle until we see not only an end to the mandates, but also an admission from the schools that it was wrong to issue them, for the sake of future generations of students and the reputations of our institutions of higher education in this great commonwealth.

Thanks for adding your voice to this vital cause! I'm thankful for your support, and I rejoice in our solidarity!


This email is addressed to Presidents and Board Chairmen/Rectors of colleges and universities in Virginia who are mandating the COVID-19 booster shot for students.
A Petition to End the Booster Mandates. I am a parent of two students who are attending public universities in Virginia. I'm writing on behalf of hundreds of other college and university parents and citizens to implore you to immediately cancel the booster mandate at your institution. I sponsored two online petitions demanding an immediate end to the booster mandates. One of those petitions is linked at the end of this email, with nearly 400 signatures. The other petition, unfortunately, was removed without notice or explanation by the petition hosting service after attracting over 500 signatures in a few hours. As I'm sure you're aware, history shows that people who suppress and censor free speech are never the good guys, and it is people who fear the truth who see danger in the free expression of opinions. We trust that you are all proponents of free speech, but it should give you pause that you've enacted a policy that some powerful forces believe must be supported by suppressing any expression of opposition to it.
Many of us wrote to various colleges and universities earlier this year to oppose the vaccine mandates for the Fall 2021 semester. At that time, we were informed by studies and articles provided by credentialed experts around the world, as well as by direct contact with doctors and other healthcare professionals. It was clear to us that there was more than enough evidence to call into question the necessity, efficacy, and safety of the COVID vaccines. The schools received our objections and in most cases engaged us generously.  Nevertheless, they chose to listen to contrary, counter-factual guidance from other sources. Six months later, it is beyond question that the essence of what we warned about has proven to be true, and much of the "expert" advice that the schools chose to follow has proved to be unequivocally wrong and counter-productive.
The injection mandates were morally wrong and scientifically unjustified. This was evident to serious students of the pandemic in the Summer of 2021, but events since then have demonstrated this beyond any reasonable doubt to even a casual observer. Thus it has truly shocked and dismayed us to see that many institutions of higher education are apparently either ignorant of the most basic facts and events in the world around them or are willing to implement a coercive policy on the basis of loyalty to an agenda rather than on what is best for the students they serve and the communities that look to them for leadership and guidance.
It is wrong to force someone to undertake an irreversible medical treatment. Perhaps you reasoned that extraordinary circumstances warranted this in the case of the COVID injections. But the burden of proof is on anyone who implements coerced medical injections to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances. We believe that the vaccine mandates never met this burden, but the situation today makes it even more preposterous to assert that such a policy is justified and morally sound.

There is no public benefit to the vaccines. It has been proven beyond any doubt in every single country where the vaccine programs have been implemented that they are associated with an explosion of COVID cases. This is particularly true in countries with nearly universal vaccine uptake and rapid booster adoption. There is simply no way to argue with a straight face that students must be forced to take these injections against their will because they will save others by doing so. This was a critical premise of the mandates, meaning that without it the mandates had no justification whatsoever and would be rendered grossly unjust and harmful to our free society. Since that premise is now proved to be false, it is morally reprehensible to continue to mandate the COVID-19 injections.
Where there is risk, there should be choice. The vaccines are not as safe as they were advertised to be. There are genuine short-term risks in taking them, and some of the students at your institutions have already been harmed by them. There are serious long-term risks that are entirely unquantified but which demand consideration because of scientific and historical factors. You have no right to make this risk calculation on the basis of a fantasy that one size fits all with respect to these injections. There is no basis whatsoever for you to insert yourself between a student and their doctor and mandate the treatment you believe is needed. You have hidden behind recommendations of government organizations, but that does not absolve you of culpability. The opinions on which the mandates were based have been proven wrong by thousands of doctors and scientists, not to mention multiple millions of people in whom the disease ran its course in defiance of every mitigation attempt. You chose the wrong side in the debate and then you forced your students to act on your erroneous assertions. That is a choice you made, and you alone bear the responsibility for it.

The vaccines are far from essential regardless of their effectiveness. It has been known since early 2020 that the risk of severe outcomes from COVID is sharply stratified by age and comorbidity. The risk faced by your students, in general, is over 1,000 times lower than that faced by those who are elderly and sick, and yet COVID policy has largely been driven by obfuscation of that risk differential. Early treatment protocols have proven to be highly effective at preventing severe outcomes from COVID. COVID has now transitioned to an endemic virus that is significantly less deadly than influenza, a virus we've lived with for centuries without taking extraordinary measures. COVID is either an infection without symptoms or a mild to severe cold for the vast majority of people who are infected with it today, even older people in sub-optimal health.

You are coercing young people into being injected with an experimental, highly controversial therapeutic treatment with short-lived efficacy and a historically unprecedented safety profile, which must be dosed before the disease is contracted, for a sickness that is of little consequence for the overwhelming majority of people who catch it.
How can you possibly justify this?

Save your legacy. History will reveal the great harm that has been done to young people during the COVID pandemic, and this picture is already emerging. Our respect for the values and courage of colleges and universities in our great commonwealth has been significantly diminished. The students will not forget what was done to them during this unique and special period of their life. The customary fond feeling for one's alma mater will be forever tainted by the memory of how their rights were trampled. How their school blindly followed those acting out of fear and ignorance. How those whose mission and calling was to guide them in taking their last step into adulthood failed to stand courageously on their behalf for a rational, scientifically sound stance that respected human freedom and dignity. How their school could not grasp a view of human flourishing beyond the agenda-driven obsession with "defeating a virus" to the deliberate exclusion of nearly every other consideration of their well-being.
We implore you to end the booster mandates immediately. We also request that you repudiate the mandate policies retroactively and admit that it was wrong to implement them. This would be for the benefit of future generations of students and for the sake of your collective reputation, which is currently in tatters.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the signatories in the linked petition:

-Mark Leone

********** Petition to Stop Booster Mandates at Virginia Colleges and Universities **********

********** Petition to Stop Booster Mandates at Virginia Colleges and Universities **********

Mark Leone

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