Stanford University gives international students an ultimatum: get boosted or be deported

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STANFORD, California (LifeSiteNews) – Stanford University is requiring healthy students to take COVID-19 booster shots under penalty of de facto expulsion, even as older staff and professors on location do not face the same requirement.

Stanford requires all students eligible for a booster to have submitted either their documentation or their application for a medical or religious exemption by January 31 of this year. Students who missed the deadline “won’t be able to register for spring quarter classes until [they] submit [their] booster documentation, or receive an extension or exemption,” are subject to “an enrollment hold on [their] Axess account” (the school’s online portal for academic, employment, and financial aid information, etc.).

“Students must be enrolled by the study list deadline of April 15, 2022, to stay in university housing,” the school warned. “Your financial aid or university research or teaching assistantship or fellowship support may also be affected.”

Among those affected by the policy is Diogo Braganca, an international Physics Ph.D. student who writes in Newsweek that he was vaccinated, subsequently contracted a mild COVID case, and has opted not to get boosted due to his natural immunity and the “established risk of myocarditis for younger people — especially young men like me,” which “increases with the number of vaccine doses a person has received, with the greatest risk coming from the booster shot.”

“If I do not get the booster shot before April 15, I cannot enroll for the spring quarter and my J-1 visa will be automatically canceled, as will the J-2 visas of my wife and child,” he wrote. “I want to finish my program, but also do not want to be bullied into taking a booster shot. For international students like me, the consequence of not being injected with the booster is deportation.”

Braganca noted that Stanford students previously appealed to the university with a 2,500-signature petition against the booster mandate, which fell on deaf ears. “When I contacted Stanford authorities, they rebuffed me, saying their mandate should not be considered coercive,” he added. “It is painful to realize that my school is twisting my arm with the threat of visa cancellation while claiming that I am not forced to do anything. Many students will comply unwillingly with the mandate because they do not want to disrupt their future careers.”

Braganca further points out that Stanford’s rules are counter-intuitive even from a pro-booster perspective, as the mandate applies regardless of whether a student takes online classes and is not physically on campus, yet university employees are only required to take “the initial course of vaccinations, not boosters,” despite being “older and arguably more at risk” from the virus.

“Stanford permits exemptions from the requirement for medical and religious reasons (though it rarely grants the former) but not philosophical reasons,” Braganca added. “And although it is forcing students to take the booster, Stanford is unwilling to take liability or pay for the consequences of any serious side effects that might occur.”

Abundant evidence about the shots’ safety and effectiveness supports Stanford students’ hesitancy about further COVID jabs. Studies have found that vaccine-induced COVID protection wanes around six months (or potentially sooner); by contrast, the conservative Brownstone Institute has compiled 150 research studies finding that natural immunity “is equal to or more robust and superior to existing vaccine.”

Accordingly, data indicates that a strategy focused on mass vaccinations and increasingly frequent boosters has failed to end the pandemic in exchange for these risks. The U.S. federal government considers more than 218 million Americans (over 65% of the eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccines’ temporary nature), yet data from Johns Hopkins University reported last October shows that more Americans died of COVID-19 by that point in 2021 (353,000) than in all of 2020 (352,000). The Moderna vaccine has been available throughout all of 2021; the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots were made available in late February.


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