The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Miami University officials recently announced they were “carefully considering” a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students, faculty and staff.
But in its current state, this mandate would not be a mandate at all.
In a draft of Miami’s potential mask mandate policy, three exemptions are listed: medical, religious and conscientious.
The third option, meaning an objection based on moral or ethical reason, is not an exemption for any other required vaccine at Miami. And when asked for clarification about what specifically a conscientious objection would look like, the university has been unable to provide any semblance of clarity.
Without further clarity, this exemption could act as a generous loophole for students who don’t want to get the vaccine, if Miami chooses to require it.
Students with legitimate medical and religious exemptions have always been – and should always be – allowed to submit those valid reasons to Student Health Services for approval.
If students are allowed to opt out of vaccination solely because of an unspecified moral objection then this mandate is really just a strong suggestion.
The Miami Student Editorial Board is calling on university officials to remove the conscientious objection from the vaccine mandate policy.
How is this any different from what our campus looks right now?
If University President Greg Crawford adopts a vaccine mandate allowing for such glaring loopholes, there’s no point in mandating the COVID-19 vaccine at all.
Including such a sweeping exemption reeks of political pandering and fear of retaliation from anti-vaccine members of our community.
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If Miami chooses to proceed with a vaccine mandate, it must stand firm in its position. This is not the time to appease the small portion of our community who will continue to fight for their right to endanger others.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is fully FDA approved. There is no reason why it should be treated any differently from other vaccines that students need to have proof of getting before attending Miami.
We have to submit proof of receiving six vaccinations, including Polio and Hepatitis B, before we arrive on campus as first-years.
Requiring vaccination is not new, it’s not shocking and it’s not up for moral objection.