College Forces Students to Get Vaccinated or Pay Over a Grand as a 'Health and Safety' Fee

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

What’s the cost of not getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

For a lot of students in Memphis, Tennessee, over a thousand dollars.

As reported by Campus Reform, beginning in the fall, Rhodes College will charge any students who haven’t taken the plunge(r) a pretty penny.


The liberal arts school makes things clear via a June 8th letter.

The announcement hails a return to “traditional campus operations this fall.”

Rhodes notes it “had a low positivity rate through most of the spring,” and that it’s confident of its “ability to have a robust campus experience this fall.”

And whereas, according to the message, spring’s success was guided by “masking and distancing,” the secret to fall’s triumph will be vaccinations.

Such will allow it to progress toward full capacity and “reduced masking.”

Hence, Rhodes “fully intends to require the COVID-19 vaccination immediately upon FDA approval. This will be required for students, faculty, staff, vendors, and campus partners. It is anticipated that FDA approval may be authorized this summer.”

The school’s “strongly recommending” attendees get needled.

How strongly, you might ask?

$1,500 strong:

Upon returning to campus non-vaccinated students will be charged a $1500 per semester Health & Safety fee…

Such a giant sum will cover the costs of mandatory testing.

Again, that’s called “not requiring, but strongly recommending.”

By August 1st, students will need to have submitted their vaccination cards.


And what’s the testing plan?


Out of an abundance of caution, and in alignment with medical advice, vaccinated students will be required to be tested at the college’s COVID-19 Clinic in the event they become symptomatic. Nonvaccinated individuals will be subjected to initial and regular testing upon return to campus.

Will COVID-19 ever fully release American society from its grip?

That remains to be seen.

At the moment, we appear to be maybe a shade and a half down from Code Red.

And entities are trying to adjust accordingly.

As I covered earlier this week, a Milwaukee grocery store’s taking a novel approach.

Metcalfe’s market — an acclaimed 3-location chain — is offering patrons free rubber wristbands to indicate whether they’d like to be touched.

The color code:

Red = No contact
Yellow = An elbow bump is okay
Green = High-five is on the table, or even move in for the hug

Who doesn’t like to hug in the personal hygiene aisle?

As for hugging on campus, in Memphis, you might wanna be careful with whom you cuddle: Like a dubious dog in an alley, they may not have had all their shots.

Cornell University, by contrast, has taken a slightly different path: You have to get vaccinated, period.

Unless, that is, you’re not white.


From the university’s official policy in December:

It is understandable that the current [vaccination] requirements may feel suspect or even exploitative to some BIPOC members… Additionally, recent acts of violence against Black people by law enforcement may contribute to feelings of distrust or powerlessness. …

We know this history and validate the potential concerns it may raise. At the same time, we know that long-standing social inequalities and health disparities have resulted in COVID-19 disproportionately affecting BIPOC individuals. …

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.

But if you’re not white and attending Rhodes, you’ll either have to take the injections or pump the college full of cash.

Student Life Vice President Megan Weyant told WREG the spring semester included “weekly — and in some cases, twice a week — testing for our students, faculty, and staff” — at no cost to them.

This time around, fork over the finances.

A CBS3 anchor inquired, “There are many people who are very hesitant about getting the vaccination. Have you…received any type of pushback, or have you heard some of the students who’ve said, ‘You know, I just don’t want to do this yet’?”


“You know, I haven’t,” Megan replied. “[T]hey want to be back on campus, doing the things that they are so excited to do as part of the college experience. They very much recognize that this is the best and safest way to do that.

And a most expensive way to not do it.



See more pieces from me:

Don Lemon Says CRT Critics Need to Stop Being Judgmental and ‘Making It About’ Them

The Fight Continues: New Bill Aims to Cripple Critical Race Theory in DC

Grocery Store Issues Color-Coded Bracelets for Customers to Signal How They Can Be Touched

Find all my RedState work here.

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