In order to return to in-class instruction this coming fall, Sacramento’s McGeorge School of Law is not only requiring mandatory masks, proof of vaccination is required, students and employees must complete mandatory training, and all students must complete the “COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention for Students” quiz.
The Globe has a confidential source at McGeorge, who for many months, has been sharing the ongoing saga of new COVID-related requirements.
Last May, the student told the Globe McGeorge School of Law informed students that they would not be able to return to campus unless they are fully vaccinated. “Mind you, they are raising my tuition too,” the student said.
“More concerning, if we take an exemption, they want you to agree to be held to a different standard,” the student added. “Now, how they will enforce that – no clue – but it will get really weird if they do. Will they tell our professors about our vaccine status? Other students? That will guarantee a lawsuit.”
Tuition at McGeorge is $60,000 a year. An attorney friend explained the predicament: “Students who have already paid tuition for a year or two years of a three-year course of study at a law school such as McGeorge have the sunk-cost problem. They must weigh whether they want/can walk away from that investment to defend their own principles and beliefs re: the vaccination. It is not easy to transfer to another law school. Such students risk losing their money and their education and their potential careers. That is a big hammer that higher education administrators can hold over their heads.”
The student shared the COVID vaccine exemption form (below), as well as the exemption form for other vaccines to show how different they are. “First, the regular certificate of medical exemption for all other vaccines doesn’t require you to request the exemption,” the student said. “The COVID19 vaccine asks you to put in a request – which they can deny. The Request for Exemption is SOOO flawed. First, just read the ‘Information about COVID-19’ – they completely misrepresent why the vaccines received their Emergency Use Authorization. The school claims the vaccine substantially reduces the spread aka transmission. Bold claim. THEN they want me to consent to let the school obtain my medical records and consult with my doctor about my condition! THIS IS NOT EVEN FDA-APPROVED. My dean said it will eventually be approved so they can mandate it. I am still shocked. I at least got her to agree long-term consequences are still unknown – and that was almost difficult. I live in a clown world.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
In July, Dean Alicia Morrell of McGeorge sent out an email to all students explaining the new policy:
Vaccinations, Masks, and Social Distancing. The University of the Pacific, our parent university, has announced that all students, faculty, staff, and administrators must be vaccinated and submit evidence that they are vaccinated– unless they submit the University declination form seeking an exemption based on medical need or religious belief. The deadline for submitting your evidence of vaccination or declination form is August 1. The University also has announced that, in accordance with the recommendations of the Sacramento County Health Authority, all of us must wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Finally, people who are not vaccinated must also observe social distancing protocols.
Enforcement. The law school will be enforcing the requirements outlined above. Students who neither have submitted their evidence of vaccination nor their declination form will not be allowed to attend classes/continue their education at McGeorge. Faculty and staff who fail to do so will be subject to progressive discipline.
We recognize that these systems are imperfect and regimented. It is our hope that taking precautions at the start of the semester will keep our community safe and that we will see a loosening of masking restrictions as more people in the larger Sacramento community are vaccinated.
Signed: Alicia Montana Morrell (she/her), Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
The enforcement aspect of this policy is concerning:
Faculty and staff will be informed as to which students have not been vaccinated and will monitoring student violations of the mask and social distancing requirements; they will report non-compliance to the University “Dean of Students.” The University Dean of Students, Rhonda Bryant, will then immediately notify the law school’s dean of students, Alicia Morrell, who will handle the violation as a disciplinary matter. In addition, students who fail to comply with the requirements will be subject to being asked to leave class and will be marked as absent.
Remember, McGeorge is a Law School – not a medical school.
Flash forward to right now in August 2021, the McGeorge student said the law school is now promoting colored wrist bands in order to identify the unvaccinated, vaccinated, and vaccine exempted (see photo above).
“All I could think with these bracelets was – wow – this is Plessy v. Ferguson all over. Separate but equal,” the student said.
In the 1896 case of Plessy v Ferguson, the Supreme Court concluded that a Louisiana law requiring whites and blacks to ride in separate railroad cars did not violate the Equal Protection Clause, thus creating a “Separate but equal” doctrine.
After making an inquiry about the wrist bands, the student said the color coding is at this point apparently for people’s comfort levels. The idea is the student picks the color based on what level of interaction they are comfortable with. “They don’t seem to be ensuring those with exemptions get the red bracelet,” the student said. “We have not started the semester yet so I’m not sure if this is here to stay or because they are doing orientation.”
Wearing a green wrist band at McGeorge School of Law signifies the student or employee is vaccinated, and therefore is free to do “hi-fives and handshakes.” Yellow is warning “elbows only.” A red wrist band likely signifies a student or employee who is unvaccinated or exempt, but can have “no contact” with anyone, and must remain “8-feet apart, No Exceptions,” or just wants no contact with anyone.
McGeorge is a Law School. Law schools teach state and federal law to students. What is McGeorge Law School teaching its students with this policy?
McGeorge Law School claims on its “COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention for Students” quiz page, “The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.”
McGeorge is a law school.
They also state:
- “People who have already gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated.”
- COVID-19 vaccines cannot give you COVID-19.
- COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viraltests*
The McGeorge law student concluded:
“It has really made me believe that college students are in a unique position because we are at the mercy of the university system. So now, they say yeah – we can mandate adults to take whatever the CDC and the State demand. These ‘unprecedented times’ or a ‘worldwide pandemic’ are being used as a Trojan horse for ushering in tyrannical government control.”COVID-19 Information for Students _ University of the Pacific
Immunization Requirement _ University of the Pacific
Request for Vaccine Exemption