Move Over, Mask Karens; Universities Asking Students to Become ‘Coronavirus Police’

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AP featured image
A woman walks out of a liquor store past a sign requesting its customers to wear a mask Tuesday, June 23, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif. The state Department of Public Health recorded more than 5,000 new cases Tuesday, putting the total number of positive cases at more than 183,000. The state has seen more than 5,500 deaths related to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

As colleges and universities across America begin to open their campuses this fall, students and faculty will face an environment far different from the one they left prior to the COVID pandemic.

From dorms, to classrooms, to dining halls, libraries, and everywhere students gather, new rules and procedures will be in place.

So how are universities going to ensure compliance with the new virus-related rules? By asking students to report peers who might not be following those rules, as reported by Campus Reform.

Campus Reform provided several examples.

The University of Miami has set up a system where “students are encouraged to report concerns about unsafe behaviors” of their peers, and administrators will review the concern.

Texas A&M University has a similar system where faculty members and administrators can file a report if they are concerned someone else on campus has COVID-19 or has come into contact with the virus.

Tulane University also has a system where university members can report “problematic behavior” related to COVID-19, and depending on the circumstance, are asked to call the university police.

The University of North Georgia has set up a similar “COVID-19 Concern for Others Form,” which prompted a letter to the university from the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which claims that the form may violate students’ right to privacy and could possibly censor speech.

Yale University is even encouraging students to “make reports concerning COVID-19” to the university hotline.

The University of North Georgia has set up a similar “COVID-19 Concern for Others Form,” which prompted a letter to the university from the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which claims that the form may violate students’ right to privacy and could possibly censor speech.

“Problematic behavior”? As judged by whom? College Karens, or students with warranted concerns?

Report fellow-students to university police? If so, will the “reported” be assumed guilty of violation of who knows what?

And with whom will Texas A&M faculty members and administrators “file a report”? On what grounds? And again, guilty as charged?

Above all, turning students against other students?

Have these geniuses really thought all of this through? According to two Ivy League academics, apparently not.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, titled “Don’t Make College Kids the Coronavirus Police,” Karen Levy, an assistant professor at Cornell University and Lauren Kilgour, a doctoral candidate at Cornell wrote that while getting students involved “makes sense,” going too far can “put students in very tough positions.” They wrote, in part:

“Of course, many students understand the high stakes of a coronavirus outbreak and have a desire to help keep their communities safe. Some students may feel a sense of civic duty to participate in policing their classmates’ behavior. But others may be loath to report on their friends, especially when doing so could result in harsh penalties.”

Levy and Kilgour also warned that students could potential report one another for reasons other than suspicion of COVID “violations.”

“People report on one another (truthfully or falsely) for a number of personal reasons, including competition, revenge, leverage and everyday aggravations. There’s every reason to assume that these motivations will bubble up in the college context, too. Students have their own loyalties, broken hearts, rocky roommate relationships and fraternity codes of silence.”

This is some serious stuff, with potentially serious repercussions and unintended consequences. Whether it be legal challenges, or simply ruined relationships, as the bumpersticker says, “stuff” happens.

Whatever the case, let’s just hope the (no longer) hallowed halls of academia don’t turn their students into anything like the completely out-of-control mask Karen in the below video.

Truth? I just wanted to see that woman go off, again.

Mike Miller

Political junkie. Former senior writer and editor at Independent Journal Review. Realist. Slayer of hypocrisy. Sports lover (except for soccer, of course). Insufferable pizza snob.





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