Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama is mandating that unvaccinated students pay a $500 fine to cover the cost of weekly COVID-19 testing.
In an email to students, Birmingham-Southern College’s President Daniel Coleman announced that unvaccinated students will be charged $500 for the fall semester “to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining” costs. The email cites a “lack of federal funds” to balance the costs.
According to the COVID Bailout Tracker, Birmingham-Southern College received $4.41 million in PPP bailout loans.
While students are being financially punished for refusing to get inoculated, the university has yet to institute a vaccine mandate. Coleman announced that if the vaccination rate for students, faculty, and staff hits 85 percent, the school will lift its pandemic restrictions.
“While more than 500 colleges and universities around the country are requiring vaccines of its students, we will not. Notwithstanding, we strongly encourage vaccination for the safety of our community,” Coleman’s email read. “Moreover, if we hit a vaccination rate of 85% for students, faculty, and staff, we should be able to return all aspects of our day to day lives to pre-pandemic norms.”
Unvaccinated students will also be subjected to a handful of other restrictions, including arriving on campus later than vaccinated students. Unvaccinated students will also be required to quarantine if “contact tracers find them to be ‘exposed’ to the virus.” They must wear masks indoors and in public areas.
Coleman’s email also announced that it’s up to the discretion of professors to decide whether each class will be masked or unmasked. Professors can ask even their vaccinated students to wear face masks while in the classroom.
“If the class is not 100% vaccinated, professors, at their discretion, may require that 100% of the class wears a mask,” the email reads.
Consequences for failing to follow unvaccinated student protocols can result in removal from online access to “platforms essential to academic success,” or removal from campus.
The College Republican Federation of Alabama (CRFA) condemned the university’s move, calling it an “ attack” aimed at shaming students.
“This is a blatant attack meant to shame students who are not vaccinated,” said CRFA Chairman Clint Reid. “While vaccines are a vital tool in the fight against COVID-19, we are still a free society where one should not be held at ransom to the tune of $500 if they do not feel the vaccine is the best course of action for them.”
Universities are grappling with how to safely return to on-campus and in-person learning as the CDC warns of the “Delta” variant of the novel coronavirus. Many universities have opted to institute vaccine mandates for students who wish to return to campus learning, including large public universities such as Indiana University, Rutgers University, and Michigan State University.
Birmingham-Southern College did not respond to The Daily Wire’s request for comment.
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