An Ontario university campus police expelled a student from class, once carried in handcuffs and again carried out by his hands and feet, in a dramatic showdown over the school’s enforcement of its COVID-vaccination mandate. 19.

Recent events at Western University in London, captured on video and shared on social media, are among the first to publicly highlight the challenge schools across the province face in upholding a policy that requires staff and students to be fully vaccinated on campus.

After being repeatedly warned not to trespass on campus and being removed three times, Harry Wade, 22, was expelled on November 18 and told the Star, “if a university is willing to go that far to exclude to the people, then it is not an institution that I want to participate in. “

In a previous statement to the Star, university spokeswoman Marcia Steyaert declined to comment on the videos, but said, “The safety of our community is our top priority.”

“While we cannot discuss individual cases due to privacy legislation, we can say that people who violate Western vaccination policy they can be removed from campus and face other disciplinary action. ”

Western University student Harry Wade, 22, is forcibly removed from class twice, once handcuffed and once with hands and feet, for alleged violations of the school’s COVID-19 vaccination policy. The incidents were captured on video and shared on social media.

To date, 28 students, out of a total of approximately 37,000, have been placed on “involuntary leave for violation” of the policy. That means they are dropped from their classes and cannot enroll in courses, access their grades, or apply to graduate for one year. They are notified not to trespass on campus. Tuition is refunded.

The university says it has “dealt with an individual regarding noncompliance requiring intervention on campus.” The Western Special Police Service, uniformed officers who ensure campus safety, did not respond to Star’s questions.

All Ontario universities have mandatory vaccination policies for in-person activities, but not all have returned to in-person learning. Since September, a combination of face-to-face, remote and online courses has been offered at schools across the province.

Western University was one of the few that opted for a near-total return to in-person learning, providing students with a more normal academic experience. That has put Western at the forefront of dealing with noncompliance on campus, a scenario that could occur elsewhere as more colleges return to in-person learning next quarter.

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Wade, a sophomore civil engineering student, has not been vaccinated because he does not believe that COVID is a “legitimate” threat to the health of people his age and says there is a lot of “misinformation” about the vaccine. “Everyone has the right to be unsafe … People should have the right of choice (of vaccination),” he added.

The university says students were given ample opportunity to make enrollment decisions before the Oct. 12 deadline, which is when they were asked to upload proof of both COVID vaccines, unless they are granted one. medical or human rights exemption.

This fall, Western says there has been no broadcast on campus, attributing it to a 99 percent vaccination rate between staff and students. He also credits the school community as a whole for adhering to safety protocols, which include the mandatory use of masks indoors.

After missing the deadline, Wade was notified on October 13 that he was not complying with university policy and was told not to enter campus. But he eventually returned five times, as a way to protest the university’s request for medical records. He was arrested for the first time on November 10 outside a school building, this was not videotaped, and he returned the next day to class to make a point. He says that some of his colleagues had told him that they agreed with his views and he hoped they would stand up in his defense. But they did not.

His second expulsion, on November 11, was captured in a 29-second video posted on an Instagram account popular with Western students. It shows Wade, unmasked, sitting in the front row of a classroom when two campus officers approach him and gesture for him to stand up. Wade obeys, puts his hands behind his back and is handcuffed. He is removed from class in a calm and orderly manner as students watch.

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Sitting near Morty Salehi, a sophomore who doesn’t know Wade personally, was “shocked” by the incident.

“Usually (Wade) wears a mask, but this time he didn’t show up with a bag or a mask and I asked him, ‘Hey, do you want a mask?’ And very nervous he said, ‘No, I’m not even supposed to be here.’

Salehi says he understands Wade’s “frustration” and notes that he has invested money, time and effort into the engineering program.

“I completely see where your frustration is … He was probably trying to make a statement.”

Wade returned to class on November 15, where he was detained again. Two campus officers approached him, again in the front row, but this time they did not handcuff him.

“At that point, I decided: Do I want to be someone who leaves class or is dragged out of class?”

Wade chose the latter, “I thought at the time that being dragged out was the last straw (for the students). Do you think this is okay? ”

Another video, about five seconds long, shows Wade being abducted by officers, who hold him by the hands and feet.

“There is disdain for the mandate and politics in that classroom (among other students) but they are not willing to take risks like I am,” Wade said. “At this point, I lost my degree and lost my access to college.”

Ziyana Kotadia, vice president of college affairs for the College Student Council, said there is broad support for Western’s vaccination mandate and policies. He noted that students have made it clear that “a vaccine mandate is the best way to protect our campus community from the ongoing pandemic.”

Wade knows that failing to comply with the policy and then returning to class, after being repeatedly told to stay off campus, was risky.

“Honestly, I am quite happy with that. I want expulsion because they believe it is a record against me … But for me, it is a record against the university, which would be willing to expel a student for choosing to believe what they believe.



Reference-www.thestar.com

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