The weird intersection of Ivy League pandemic policy and Bob Jones University purity codes

The therapeutists vs. the theocrats.

By Bonnie Kristian, The Week

Brown University mandates COVID-19 vaccination for faculty, staff, and students alike, so over 95 percent of the campus community is vaccinated. And, as Brown’s pandemic policy pages note, the vaccines are “proven to be highly effective” in preventing transmission and serious illness. So Brown is nearly back to normal, right?

So, so, so wrong. After a small spike in positive COVID-19 tests — 82 in a week, mostly among “asymptomatic undergraduate students,” with “no indications of serious illness and no hospitalizations” — the university announced severe new rules. The restrictions are “short-term,” but there’s no firm timeline for lifting them. Now banned: social gatherings larger than five (even outdoors!), spending time with multiple friend groups, and going to indoor restaurants and bars. Students are required to wear masks in their dorm rooms with anyone but a roommate.

Brown isn’t the only elite university with near-universal vaccination and extreme pandemic restrictions, as Reason‘s Robby Soave has reported. Soave describes these rules as “authoritarian,” inviting comparisons to harsh regimes of fiction and history. I’m reminded of something closer to home: hyper-strict student life rules at fundamentalist Christian colleges.


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