Nowadays, most college students or recent graduates can tell at least one story of their college overstepping the boundaries or teaching something absolutely ridiculous in the curriculum, however not many people can say they were expelled from college over private medical decisions.
In the age of “my body, my choice” one can expect a significant amount of outrage on a college campus over a private medical decision, but that wasn’t the case at Union College in New York.
According to local news, Diamond “Elle” Puentes, claims she was expelled from school for not receiving a vaccine booster due to the institution’s policies regarding Covid-19 vaccinations.
According to Union College, “Proof of a COVID booster vaccination is required of all eligible students and employees by Jan. 16, or within two weeks of becoming eligible.” It goes on to say “Students who cannot show proof of a booster and who are not approved for an exemption will be subject to disciplinary action.” However, it doesn’t say what “disciplinary action” will be taken.
The college paid lip service to the issue of medical exemptions saying “If your health care provider has advised you that you are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 booster vaccination because of the care received for your positive COVID-19 diagnosis (monoclonal antibody treatment or convalescent plasma), you will need to apply for a temporary medical exemption following the policy and instructions found here. Exemption requests must be received by Jan. 14, 2022.” That being said, when a medical exemption was given to the college for Puentes it was not respected the way one would expect.
According to the Daily Wire, Puentes received a medical exemption from her doctor in order to skip the booster shot, however, on April 11th, 2022 Union College denied the exemption and expelled Puentes from the University. Puentes told the Daily Wire exclusively, “I was in class, I received an email stating, ‘you have been unenrolled and you have 72 hours to leave campus.”
The irony here is incredible. While students on campus around the United States are screaming “my body, my choice” and most colleges are cheering them on, medical exemptions regarding bodily autonomy are rejected by campuses like Union College and students lose their chance at a college education.