News & Politics

Cornell Offers Exemption to Flu Vaccine for 'People of Color'

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Because of “historical injustices and current events,” Cornell University will grant an exemption from the requirement for all students to get a flu vaccination for “people of color.”

Most of us are far too logical to follow the reasoning of this exemption. Apparently, because of “systemic racism and health inequities” in the United States, “individuals from some marginalized communities may have concerns about needing to agree to such requirements.”


For example, historically, the bodies the of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) have been mistreated, and used by people in power, sometimes for profit or medical gain. It is understandable that the current Compact requirements may feel suspect or even exploitative to some BIPOC members of the Cornell community. Additionally, recent acts of violence against Black people by law enforcement may contribute to feelings of distrust or powerlessness.

Yes, but what does any of this have to do with not getting a flu shot? Police are not giving the flu shot. Why should that matter?

At the same time, we know that long-standing social inequalities and health disparities have resulted in COVID-19 disproportionately affecting BIPOC individuals. Higher percentages of individuals from these communities become infected with COVID, and the health outcomes related to infection are often more serious. Away from campus community, BIPOC individuals are not as likely to have access to preventive services or quality health care. The systems, services, and policies being implemented at Cornell seek to address these inequalities as well as the differential impacts.

Huh? What does getting sick from COVID because you’re a “person of color” have to do with the flu? The flu and COVID are two different diseases. In fact. because a weakened immune system makes any person — colorful or not — more susceptible to COVID-19, shouldn’t people of color demand they get flu shots first instead of getting an exemption?

Campus Reform:

One Cornell undergraduate, who spoke to Campus Reform on the condition of anonymity, said that “all students deserve equal treatment regarding what healthcare choices they are allowed to make at Cornell.” Because students of all identities may have personal concerns about taking a mandatory vaccine, “having a policy statement that singles out BIPOC students for requesting an exemption” is unfair for other students.

Of course, the whole point of the exemption is to be unfair. Since people of color were treated unfairly in the past, it’s time to treat white people unfairly just to make the people of color feel better.

Still, the logic of the exemption eludes me. If people of color are more susceptible to serious illness because of inequalities in the system, past and present, why in God’s name would you give these same students an exemption?

This is where being woke costs lives — the very lives that the woke school administration claims to care about the most. What they care about is appearing to bend over backward to accommodate the delicate sensibilities of some people of color. That these are the very people most at risk is unimportant compared to the statement they want to make to prove to their white liberal friends how brave they are.

Do they know how ridiculous they look?