Post #1417: Gotcha! No COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Virginia state colleges and universities

Posted on January 28, 2022


The Virginia Attorney General has interpreted state law to say that Virginia state colleges and universities cannot require a COVID-19 vaccine (per this Washington Post reporting).

Less than 11 percent of the operating budget of William and Mary comes from state funds (reference).  For the University of Virginia, state funds account for just over 10 percent of their budget (reference).  So these are institutions that are operated on private money, to a very large degree.  But because they took the tainted tax dollar, the Governor has the right to pull their chains.

Not a ruling against vaccine mandates in general, just a Gotcha! for COVID-19.

To be clear, Virginia state colleges and universities can and do require vaccines as a condition of entry.  Those existing vaccine mandates weren’t challenged.  If you want to read the section of Virginia state code, it’s § 23.1-800.

So, vaccine mandates for college students are A-OK.  That wasn’t the point of this.

Instead, the basis for this ruling is that the Virginia statute listed above — written before COVID-19 existed — does not specifically list COVID-19 as a required vaccine.

Up to now, there was no need to list it, because Virginia had a common-sense government whose Attorney General made the opposite ruling.  The prior interpretation of the whole of Virginia statute in this area was that, consistent with safeguarding the health and safety of their students, state colleges in Virginia, could, at their option, mandate COVID-19 vaccination.

That which is not compulsory is forbidden

If you glance at that section of Virginia law, you will see how imprudent it might be to modify the law to add COVID-19.  If you do that, state colleges would no longer have an option, nor would this requirement be temporary.  Instead, COVID-19 vaccination would be mandatory at all state colleges and universities until such time as the law was changed to remove it.

Given that we are all hoping the current pandemic is temporary, it seems like the previous administration’s approach was a lot more sensible.

But now there is no middle ground.  Now, in order to allow colleges to mandate COVID_19 vaccination, you must force colleges to mandate it, by adding it to the list of diseases spelled out in law.  Until such time as the legislature takes COVID-19 back out of the list of diseases currently in the law, assuming that this pandemic does eventually end.

And so, it’s policy by Gotcha.  You didn’t add that word to the legislation, when there was no need to do so, and now state colleges and universities can’t mandate COVID-19 vaccination.  But they must mandate vaccination for a list of other diseases.

Now the question is, are there enough sensible Republican members of the Virginia House …   hahaha, sorry, I’m showing my age there.  Back in the day, Virginia Republicans were, by and large, a fairly sensible lot.  In the current climate, I’d guess it would be political suicide to say that state colleges may use their best judgment when deciding whether or not a COVID-19 vaccination mandate is in students’ best interests.

Need to modify my Post #1411.

All of those colleges and universities below mandate a COVID-19 booster for their students.

Here in Virginia, just to pick a few at random:

I will end by pointing out that these mandates were not forced on these various universities.  I explained that in Post #1411What you see above is the smartest people in the U.S.A. determining that a booster mandate was a good idea.  (People seem to forget that the standard two-shot vaccination provides little protection against Omicron).

What message do I see here?  If want your kid to go to a college where smart people are running the show, then stay the hell away from Virginia. 

To their credit, at least this time they skipped the pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo that accompanied the Governor’s attempt to strike down mask mandates in all Virginia public schools (Post #1403).  So that’s coming ahead.

So there you have it.   More like Florida every day.  I sure hope all of you who voted these folks into office are happy with what you’re getting.  Because I can tell you, the rest of us aren’t.