How often has the administration told us that it “follows the science?” I, for one, have lost count. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that it has become the University’s mantra since the pandemic began. Recently, however, I noticed that the administration opted to abandon this sound course of action. In a letter dated March 9, Provost Marie Lynn Miranda wrote, “You may have read that the CDC has issued new guidance for what it considers to be allowable activities for those who have been fully vaccinated. While these are generally welcome signs of progress, our University health and safety protocols remain unchanged.” To Provost Miranda and her colleagues in the administration, I ask, “Why?” What does the University know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not? What “science” can this administration divine that the nation’s leading experts cannot?
The simple answer is nothing. In reality, the University has opted to ignore science and logic, choosing instead to remain doggedly wed to the worst excesses of its draconian COVID policies.
To clarify, among the “allowable activities” the CDC now approves are fully-vaccinated people spending time together indoors and unmasked. I am a history major who never enjoyed science class, yet I see the logic in these new recommendations. Even if the vaccine does not necessarily prevent transmission, it does prevent contraction and, therefore, it is safe for vaccinated people to be maskless around each other.
Surely this is positive news and vaccinated members of our campus community should be able to enjoy their newly re-found normality? After all, while we all want to be vaccinated to protect ourselves and others, we also know the vaccine is the only way to regain our everyday lives. It seems highly hypocritical for the University to continually stress the importance of being vaccinated when one is eligible and simultaneously impose policies that mean the vaccination leads to no discernible benefit in one’s life. By refusing to keep pace with the advice from the CDC and other health experts, this University renders the vaccine against COVID pointless. If immunization does not bring progress towards ordinary life, then I may as well have been injected with lukewarm tap water.
Throughout this crisis the leadership of the University has told students, faculty and staff that we must put our faith in the advice of expert scientists. Following such advice, we were told, was the only way to get through this pandemic. Why then, now that science has produced advice to help us begin getting back to normality, does the administration choose to willfully and stubbornly ignore it? The CDC is tasked with understanding disease. I doubt such an organization would publish this kind of recommendation based on scant evidence and a flight of fancy. The experts say it is safe for fully-vaccinated people to behave normally around each other. So let them! To do otherwise is to put this University on a footing that is not in concordance with science, but rather diametrically opposed to it. By choosing to ignore the CDC, the administration is no longer following science. It is following its own paranoia.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.