I know I keep harping on it but it really bugs me.
We have a great office that works with disabled students. They do amazing work. It’s great to see disabled students on campus. It’s one of the biggest achievements of this country that disabled people aren’t hidden from sight because healthy folks don’t want to look at them or have them around.
We get very meticulous training from this office. One thing that’s drilled into us to the point that it’s now a basic reflex is that we should never question students about the nature of their disability or their medical status. We are told that it’s illegal to ask people medical questions in the workplace, especially when they depend on you for grades or wages. I’m completely supportive of this approach.
Why, then, is it OK to grill employees on their vaccination status, which should rather be called voluntary participation in an experimental gene therapy?
Even in a job that requires drug testing at the point of hiring, it’s not OK for the dean or provost to question you – especially in public – about the results of your test.
By throwing away good, useful practices over a perceived “state of emergency” we are setting bad precedent that will come to bite us into our ever-expanding asses.
And please, please don’t say “people can refuse to answer.” Is it OK if I start questioning students in class about their mental health status under the assumption that they can always refuse to answer? A refusal to answer is already an answer. Plus, it’s not easy to refuse to answer when the person asking signs your contract and everybody else in the group has already eagerly answered.
I remember when a young female job candidate was asked in an interview if she was planning to have kids “because we don’t need yet another person who’ll start procreating instead of working, ha ha.” Yes, seriously, I was there when it happened (I wasn’t the job candidate). All of the effort it cost at least somewhat to walk away from this mentality, and now we are bringing it back. If “public interest” trumps privacy, the consequences can be quite unpleasant.