Speaking before a University of Chicago audience at Friday’s Academia’s COVID Failures symposium, the Thinker’s own Arthur Long recounted how UChicago’s healthcare bureaucracy persecuted him for being unvaccinated.
He came to UChicago as a student-athlete, playing defensive end on the football field and adhering to the Chicago Principles in the classroom. However, Long could not play during his freshman season, because it was crushed by UChicago’s barrage of COVID-19 crackdowns.
Instead, like many other UChicago students, Long recalls strictly remote classes, a mandatory testing program, isolation housing, and food deliveries to his door, as if he were a prisoner in “solitary confinement.”
Daily emails reminded Long of his reality. He recounts correspondence noting that “you must continue all public precautions” and that “anyone who leaves their building while required to be in quarantine or isolation could have SEVERE disciplinary consequences.”
Long’s college experience might have been different at Hillsdale College, which “never shut down or enforced any mandates.” UChicago, in contrast, instituted an “Orwellian dystopia” that only got worse with the 2021 imposition of a vaccine mandate.
Never mind that Long “had natural immunity” from a prior COVID-19 infection and “a University-approved vaccine exemption.” By university rules, upon returning to school in mid-August 2021, he and other unvaccinated players had to “sit in solitary quarantine for a week” in their rooms with “no practice, no conditioning.”
Furthermore, the university pressured Long to switch from his assigned double dorm room to a single because he was unvaccinated. He said that he ignored that order and remained in his rightly assigned double room.
In the following days, housing officials confronted Long and “berated” him for his “sleeping in an unauthorized bed.” Worse yet, the officials were supposedly overheard saying, “We’re gonna get that unvaxxed kid!”
From there, Long says his “student ID was deactivated,” effectively removing his identity and rights as a student at UChicago.
Long read emails he received from the senior medical director of UChicago Student Wellness, Dr. Richard McDonough, which said that “you will need to take steps to comply with the University’s Covid-19 vaccination requirement.”
When Long questioned Dr. McDonough about which experts he was relying upon, Arthur claims he was given no names. Instead, he says that he received a general statement saying the experts are “well acquainted with the current medical literature with respect to criteria for immunity to Covid-19 and potential side effects from immunization.”
Long fought this battle for months before appearing on FOX News to tell his story. Shortly thereafter, he “got an email saying perhaps there had been some ‘misunderstanding’ and Student Wellness didn’t want to be ‘adversarial.’”
In his own words, Long’s story ended “not with a bang but a whimper.” Accordingly, he did not feel “victorious.”
From Long’s vantage point, UChicago’s conduct constitutes not only the blatant “suppression of speech,” but also the “suppression of freedom itself.”
Long thanked the Thinker for supporting his fight against the policies that plagued him throughout his early university life. When asked for the antidote against such hysteria and suppression, he replied with the mission of the Thinker and the desire of his late personal doctor, Ramin Oskoui: “Keep telling the truth.”