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Thursday, May 30, 2024
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The university as a safe space from reason

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I HAVE received a press release from Fordham Together, a group battling a looming Covid booster mandate at Fordham University, New York, which will take effect on November 1. According to the university website, all ‘faculty, students, and staff must be fully up-to-date as defined by the CDC as of Tuesday, November 1, 2022, which includes the updated bivalent booster.’ So the young students, more likely to be hospitalised with vaccine adverse effects than with Covid-19, will be ‘barred, disenrolled, or dismissed from campus’ if they do not risk their health.

The ultimate responsibility for this decision lies with Fordham’s newly appointed president, Tania Tetlow. In a lofty article on the Fordham university website, Tetlow is described as an advocate of ‘justice and increased support for the country’s young people’, and a fighter against discrimination. This she does by showing the young injustice, forcing them to harm themselves and discriminating against those who refuse.

The key takeaways:

  • Justice is injustice.
  • Inclusion is discrimination.
  • Supporting is harming.

That’s for the values.

Fordham is a Jesuit university and friends educated in the Jesuit tradition have told me about the strong emphasis on sound reasoning and critical thinking in their institutions. It seems clear Fordham’s management has utterly failed here.

Recently, Denmark effectively banned the mRNA vaccines for the general population under 50. According to studies and real-life data the risk/benefit ratio is negative for healthy young people and some of the world’s most eminent physicians, such as cardiologist Aseem Malhotra, are now breaking the silence. But in Tetlow’s world this is of no consequence. If her students don’t accept the ‘booster’ injection, tested on eight mice which all reportedly caught Covid-19 and promptly died, they will be forced to wear masks, which, despite much effort, have never been shown to add but at best a minuscule effect on the transmission of a disease which to those students is less dangerous than the flu. Further discussion of the risks attached may be found in an excellent article by biology major Devin Rocks in the Fordham student newsletter, The Fordham Ram.

The theologicians of olden times, Jesuits among them, are sometimes ridiculed for their heated debates on subjects such as how many angels might be placed on the top of a pin. But however pointless the subject of the debate might seem to us ‘enlightened’ moderns, the logic was impeccable. The debate was not about calculating the number of angels or their size, it was about exploring the different nature of physical and non-physical beings; in the end it was about advancing the understanding of basic concepts and about honing logical skills.

Logical acrobatics, however useless they may seem, are not absurd. Absurdity is the negation of reason, it is about carrying on with something you know is pointless and stupid and harmful, and this is exactly what Tetlow’s mandates are. They’re not only unethical, they’re illogical as well. President Tetlow has betrayed the very values her university, her society and her religious and philosophical tradition are based on. The strong opposition by a growing number of students and their parents may however be an indication of hope.

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Thorsteinn Siglaugsson
Thorsteinn Siglaugsson
Thorsteinn Siglaugsson is an Icelandic economist, consultant and writer. Author of From Symptoms to Causes - Applying the Logical Thinking Process to an Everyday Problem.

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