Press "Enter" to skip to content

Philosophy Professor resigns from Protest University's COVID-19 Plan

Jeremy Fischer, who until yesterday was Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), resigned to protest per your university's COVID-19 policies for the next term.

Writing to his university rector, rector, university dean and department director, he said:

We know what is needed to protect the health of the community and, most likely, saving lives, and we have the capacity to do so; what is lacking is the collective will to do so. And I am forced to consider whether my continuing relationship with the UAH could make me an accessory to a moral atrocity.

I have therefore decided to resign from my position as associate professor of philosophy, effective immediately.

Dr. Fischer had described the UAH pandemic plans last month in a guest post here, "Sounding the alarm: COVID risks 2021-2022 in unprotected colleges and universities" and launched a petition to urge the University of Alabama system to strengthen its COVID-19 security protocols. In that earlier post, he wrote:

Alabama SB 267, signed May 24 this year, prohibits state-funded schools from requiring that students are vaccinated against COVID. In fact, the COVID vaccination status of students should not be monitored at all on campus. This latest ban, in turn, makes my university's policy that all and only unvaccinated students should wear masks and maintain 3 feet of social distance from others indoors, unenforceable. That policy, in effect, is an honor system. And if the classrooms will be something like grocery stores around here, which generally have the same honor system, then very few students will wear masks or maintain social distance…

My institution adds two more turns. First, full-time professors (with rare exceptions) must teach most of their classes in person during the next academic year. Second, individual instructors may not require their students to wear masks during class or office hours. This second "twist" may seem like a trivial implication of the university's mask policy, but it is not. Instructors may prohibit a wide variety of classroom activities that are otherwise permitted on campus (for example, eating, talking, using computers or cell phones), when they judge that those activities may interfere with instructional or classroom-related goals. reasonable security. Going without a mask is explicitly excluded from this prohibited activity.

Dr. Fischer, who specializes in moral, ethical and emotional psychology, expressed concern about the complicity of teachers in a public health crisis, asked if instructors from unprotected institutions were morally allows "risking public health to convene philosophy classes" and suggested that the faculty might consider resigning in protest.

Yesterday, he did just that. He posted his resignation on Twitter. It has been republished in its entirety below:

In response to follow-up questions, he sent an email:

Perhaps you could ask sympathetic readers to support the email campaign I have been urging. People can email the leaders of my old institution, UAH, and the UA System in general, and urge them to adopt the sensible COVID policy of our neighboring university, Alabama A&M: among other things, (1) move online courses for the first time two weeks of the semester and (2) require weekly random sampling ("sentinel") testing of those not vaccinated thereafter. We also urge the adoption of (3) universal social distancing mandates that are in accordance with the C.D.C. recommendations for institutions of higher education where not everyone is fully vaccinated.

Here are some key decision makers (and their public email addresses):

Darren Dawson, President, [email protected]
Robert (Bob) Lindquist, Acting Chancellor and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, [email protected]
Kristi Motter, Vice President of Student Affairs, [email protected]
Finis St. John IV, Chancellor, [email protected]
Members Board of Trustees, [email protected]

He also encouraged professors, especially senior faculty, to form “local ad hoc COVID policy committees” on their own campuses with colleagues and communicate with college unions, Senate faculty committees, and adm school administrations with their concerns. He warned: "What is happening in the Deep South may very well reach a city near you soon!"

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *