Cornell Offers Minority Students Exemption from Mandatory Vaccine

Cornell University will grant an exemption from its mandatory flu vaccine requirement  to “people of color,” citing the United States’ “longstanding systemic racism and health inequities” as justification, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Cornell’s health-requirement guidelines state that students who study and stay on campus have to receive a flu vaccination. However, the university in Ithaca, New York offers an exemption for “students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a Person of Color” and have concerns about being required to take the vaccine.

“It is understandable that the current Compact requirements may feel suspect or even exploitative to some BIPOC members of the Cornell community,” a university outline of the exemption reads. “Additionally, recent acts of violence against Black people by law enforcement may contribute to feelings of distrust or powerlessness.”

The minority students are strongly encouraged to get tested and get the flu shot, however the university describes the requirements as “suspect or even exploitative” to its students of color. The guidelines provide contact information for students who “may know the science and still feel distrusting of health care” to request an exemption.

Nonexempt students who arrive on campus without the required vaccinations “will have a temporary hold placed on their registration status,” according to Cornell Health. If Cornell finds them to be noncompliant, they will be charged a fee and “dis-enrolled from the university.”

The only other exception from the flu vaccine requirement is for medical or religious reasons.


About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met and married an American journalist and moved to D.C. from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A. in Graphics, Media, and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: Getty Images

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