According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, a national libertarian student group is leading the fight against COVID-19 mandates on college campuses. They are now targeting the University of Maine System (UMS) as their target.
Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), a student rights director at YAL, said that they are working with student
activists to repeal the UMS vaccine mandate. JP Kirby, YAL director for student rights, stated to the DCNF that they have called Chancellor Dannel Maloy and worked with state constituents whose tax dollars support the university to send emails supporting the repeal of the policy. According to the website, students and employees can apply to all seven universities.
Kirby stated to the DCNF that the school must be aware that students cannot be denied their rights without people knowing. Schools that rely on not only taxpayer funding, but also on private donations, need to be aware that people will watch them and know when they make excuses in 2023 about eliminating a mandate that should never have been established.
According to UMS, the policy remains in force for the academic year 2022-2023. It requires that all employees and students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but encourages them to receive a booster. Faculty and students are required to upload proof that they have been vaccinated through an online portal. New students will need to complete a COVID vaccine/exemption document.
After the Maine Community College System had repealed the requirement, several Republican state legislators wrote to the university requesting that it remove its vaccine mandate. News Center Maine reported. UMS stated to the DCNF in a statement that it would continue its mandate for vaccines through the end semester.
In the UMS statement, Chancellor Malloy stated that “We will be monitoring our partners at Community College system as these changes are made in their vaccine policies. But at this point we’re not prepared to alter our’s.” We made a promise that our students, faculty, and staff would be safe by using vaccination protocols. They have, in turn made great efforts to adhere to those protocols. They are an inspiration to me. We have achieved outstanding compliance levels thanks to their dedication. We are not willing to compromise our promises until the FDA or CDC changes their guidelines.
This statement confirmed that 98% UMS students are in compliance with the vaccine policy.
Kirby stated that Malloy’s reply to the legislator’s letter was “cowardly”; that the office would have no peace until it had given an answer to their students. YAL might consider contacting alumni and working with the legislature if repeated contact fails.
According to its website, the Student Rights Campaign at YAL mobilizes students and helps them “fight back against tyrannical campus policies that limit students’ natural right and show clear abuses of administrative power.”
Kirby stated that YAL has targeted UMaine as one of many schools to repeal COVID-19 mandates. Kirby told the DCNF that they had been successful in repealing mandates at Colorado School of Mines, and Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.
Kirby explained to the DCNF that the group also addresses self-defense issues, including advocating campus carry and removing pepper spray bans.
Kirby stated, “It all begins with making sure that the Chancellor Malloy understands that his life will be easier if he gives back the rights to students to him without too much of a problem.”