Nearly a dozen students at Mount Royal University in Calgary have been deregistered from classes by administration after refusing to say whether they have had their COVID-19 shots.
MRU’s policy is that anyone — student, staff or visitor — attending the campus for any reason requires proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test result.
The university says 22 students enrolled for in-person classes were initially deregistered last month after refusing to declare their vaccination status. But when given a second chance, half of those students did declare.
“So the final tally is 11 students who remain deregistered,” MRU said in an email.
Online student also threatened with deregistration
One MRU student, whom CBC News has agreed not to name because she fears academic retribution, says she was also threatened with deregistration for weeks last month after refusing to declare her immunization status despite being enrolled only in online classes.
The student says the threats contradicted what she’d been told by the school’s rapid testing program, which allowed online students to opt out of it.
“Which basically was proof of you declaring that you will not be on campus at all this semester, so I could opt out of the rapid testing,” she said. “I filled that out and I submitted that, and even after that, I was still constantly receiving threats of being deregistered for days afterwards.”
CBC News has viewed several emails sent to the student from MRU administrators throughout September threatening deregistration for not declaring her vaccination status.
“They just kept resorting to saying that the public health order requires them to do so, but nowhere in the order does it say you need to declare if you’re vaccinated or not,” she said.
“A vaccinated or unvaccinated person could choose to show a rapid test result, too, according to the public health order. But I’ve been getting these emails saying that if I do not declare my status, then I will be deregistered from my courses.”
MRU has since confirmed the student was actually right all along.
“Unvaccinated students who are registered only in online courses have an option to complete a form that waives the rapid testing requirement by agreeing not to attend campus in person for any reason,” the school said.
The student said she is still not sure what she plans to do next semester, as the courses she’s registered in are listed as in-person, and she doesn’t want to have to declare her vaccination status then, either.
“I’m hoping to see how this will unfold, and I also am hoping to see how the pandemic shifts, because we are still three or four months away from that. I’m not saying that MRU or any other university will change their policy, but there may be more options offered,” she said.
As for right now, MRU said students and employees who are unvaccinated or who do not submit a negative rapid test result within 72 hours of their classes are not permitted on campus, and they have been notified individually.
As of Monday, the university is also now requiring vaccine verification for vaccinated staff and students at facilities across campus. Students are required to show proof to enter a particular building or access in-person services.
“Strict compliance with these requirements is important in light of the vaccination verification program as students will need to show their rapid testing email to demonstrate their eligibility to be on campus,” said MRU.
“The university has already begun conducting compliance audits and, if students are found on campus without the appropriate documentation, they will be required to leave immediately. Not adhering to the rapid testing program protocols will be considered a serious violation of the code of student conduct policy.”