I wonder if British universities will follow Cornell’s innovative approach to ensuring students are protected from wretched viruses? The American institution has received plaudits for its rigorous regime. Students who refuse to have the flu vaccine will be barred from the Cornell libraries and other campus buildings — or, at least, they will if they are white. ‘Students of color’ can decline to receive the vaccine. Why?
Cornell explains: ‘Students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a Person of Color (BIPOC) may have personal concerns about fulfilling the Compact requirements based on historical injustices and current events.’ The university authorities give a little more detail about what those concerns might be: ‘Recent acts of violence against Black people by law enforcement may contribute to feelings of distrust or powerlessness.’ So, white kids must be tested and vaccinated or face being kicked out, while black students are invited to register their preference for exemption, largely on the grounds that George Floyd was killed by a policemen in a state 1,000 miles away.
I offer up this little vignette as almost the perfect postscript to 2020, the Year of Epic Derangement, seeing as it brings together the cringing, self-flagellating lunacy of white liberals when faced with people who have a different skin color, and this virus of ours, under whose suffocating shroud so many other lunacies have been allowed to flourish. I think if I were a black student at Cornell who contracted flu from another black student who had filed for exemption, I would sue the college on the grounds of a failure of duty of care and, indeed, unadorned racism.