** Press statement and Media Availability **
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2021
University of Nebraska Cornhuskers shuck the Constitution with COVID testing demands
American Constitution Rights Union says University of Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie Green must rescind mandatory COVID testing and restore students’ freedom and privacy
Naples. FL—On January 13, American Constitutional Rights Union (ACRU) asserts that the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers have shucked the Constitution. ACRU sent a letter to University of Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie Green demanding he rescind unconstitutional and invasive mandatory COVID-19 testing on UN-Lincoln campus and restore students’ rights to freedom of movement and medical privacy.
On December 9, 2020—nearly a month after students chose either in person, hybrid or online classes for the spring semester—Chancellor Green issued an edict requiring students to take a COVID test every two weeks as a prerequisite to accessing dorms, classrooms and dining halls. These tests are to be tracked on a personal smart phone app that color codes the student’s compliance. If students refuse the mandatory testing, have the “wrong” color on the app, or experience a software glitch, they will be denied access to classes, beds and meals for which they have already paid.
ACRU President Lori Roman included several instances of case law demonstrating that the school’s mandatory testing program is unconstitutional in the organization’s letter to Chancellor Green.
“This demand for a medical procedure and the tracking of student movement is reminiscent of methods used by totalitarian regimes to control the movements of oppressed citizens and in no way reflects the freedom and liberty codified in our founding,” notes Roman.
“We supplied Chancellor Green with Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment cases that deemed coerced capture of any bodily fluids unlawful under ‘unreasonable search and seizure’ guidelines, including a case specific to widespread student testing.
“Using a ‘passport’ app to track movements counters precedent that such tracking is only lawful when an individual has been associated with personal wrongdoing,’ Roman continued. “The University is also violating its own anti-discrimination policy by creating and punishing a class of students who object to mandatory testing based on religious or political beliefs.”
Chancellor Green claims testing is ‘free,’ but the average cost of a COVID test in Nebraska is $170. Even if the school receives a significant discount, testing 25,000 students every two weeks could run into the millions.
Student Rylan Korpi, a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln chapter of Students for Liberty, has serious concerns about freedom, privacy and the financial impact of testing on students and families. “This comes as our university is cutting $38 million from programs, staff and graduate student funding,” notes Korpi.
Until the December 9 mandatory testing edict, the University noted its success in keeping COVID cases at a minimum by having students observe CDC guidelines on mask wearing, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.
“Many students are concerned about the false sense of security mandatory testing will bring,” continues Korpi. “So far, students avoided large gatherings and only tested when exposed or showing symptoms, and most cases have been traced to off-campus activity. If thousands of students receive a negative test in a small snapshot of time, there is concern they could ignore standard COVID safety protocols and actually increase case numbers.
Korpi and other University of Nebraska students have created an online petition demanding the University revoke mandatory testing demands. Some students are refusing to sign the university’s compliance form which would essentially waive their individual rights.
According to the latest CDC data available on January 11, 2021, more than 81 percent of COVID deaths occur in people above retirement age of 65+. Only a half of one percent of deaths occur in the student age bracket of 18 – 29. This age bracket has nearly a 100% survival rate. Nebraska has also done a good job so far preventing the spread of COVID with standard protocols as its rate of 51.9 cases per 100 citizens puts it well below the national average of 74.1. Out of 50 states, it ranks 37 in case rates.
“Students should not be forced to take a medical test which violates not just one, but several of their lawful rights in order to access food, education and dorm rooms paid for in advance,” Roman concludes.
“The Chancellor is demanding students sign a document agreeing to the testing or face financial or educational consequences. Perhaps the University’s lawyers advised the administration this would get them off the hook for violating student freedom and privacy. It does not.”
American Constitutional Rights Union, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy organization dedicated to defending the constitutional rights of all Americans.
This press release may be reprinted or referenced in part or in whole with proper attribution to American Constitutional Rights Union.