By Michael Bielawski
At least two Vermont college students have helped to start the Student Declaration 2023 which is to ensure that overzealous COVID-19-related mandates are never repeated again on their school campuses.
“We were told that mask, vaccine, and lockdown mandates would be justified by their benefits, yet, in light of the incredible harms these mandates caused, such mandates cannot be justified today,” the Declaration states.
It continues that students have been under a lot of peer pressure to fall into line.
“An undeniable psychological toll fell on every student facing pressure from peers, professors, and university administration to comply with mandates, and many, denied face-to-face contact with others for over a year, found themselves forced to accept medical coercion under duress,” it states.
Two of the Declaration’s three originators are UVM students, Lauren Palmer and Isla Stover. Palmer, according to her Linkedin profile, has studied performance arts and offered homeschool courses. Stover is an avid cyclist. The third person is Nadia Ghazal, a graduate law student.
The petition currently has 94 signatures including nine students, 10 faculty/staff and 75 citizens.
The Declaration further suggests that students who refused COVID vaccines were punished for doing so.
“Those who chose not to vaccinate (a choice owed to all people under a truly democratic society), whether for medical or personal motivations, were made outcasts; they were socially ridiculed, segregated, and blamed, losing scholarships, academic and social opportunities, jobs and internships, medical autonomy and privacy, their ability to see friends and family, all campus platforms for free and uncensored speech, and the most basic human rights of Compassion, Dignity, and Empathy,” it states.
It also accuses academic leaders of abandoning the principles of free speech and public debate.
“It is clear that modern academia and academic leaders have betrayed their commitment to the free and open exchange of ideas, allowing fear, and not reason or common sense, to triumph. The freedom of rational thought must be recovered, and, in order to do this, we must first restore the principles of the university: the quintessential fountain of ideas. Dialogue must again be the foundation of all institutions.”
On the UVM student’s petition webpage it talks about empowering students. It states “Students were once the vehicles of change. We hope our movement on October 23rd empowers students, as well as professors, staff, and inspired community members, to be that vehicle of change once again.”
Similar to the Great Barrington Declaration
The statement is not unlike 2020’s Great Barrington Declaration, which has more than 938,000 signatures including at least 43 medical professionals.
It stated in 2020, “Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.”
COVID mandates still in national news
In related news, Children’s Health Defense announced last week that a ruling by the New York State Supreme Court in January to strike down the state’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers will remain after the state’s appeal was dismissed earlier this month. It’s not yet clear what the implications might be in Vermont.
Also the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was in the news recently warning Americans to reject any return of COVID-related mandates.
“Look at how much control they were able to exercise over the people: shutting down the schools, keeping our children from learning, putting them so far behind. It’s going to take years, maybe decades, for them to catch up again,” he said on Newsmax’s “American Agenda.”
The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle