The Democracy Fund (TDF) has sent a letter to Western University disapproving the university’s recently announced booster mandate for students and staff. The TDF says the mandate is “legally problematic, morally improper, and medically unnecessary.”

As first reported by True North, Western University announced that it would require proof of one booster from all students, staff and visitors to its campus. The University of Toronto announced a similar booster requirement for students living in residence on July 28. 

In a statement, the TDF expects more universities to implement similar restrictions in the coming weeks and is preparing to offer free legal assistance to students and staff facing booster requirements.

With only weeks before classes begin, many students have already enrolled in the fall semester, paid tuition fees and made plans to move into residences. The TDF says the renewed mandates  “may result in legal action against student tenants.”

Dr. Matt Strauss, the acting medical officer of health in Haldimand-Norfolk and a Western alumni, says he spoke to health experts working at the university and was informed that they were not consulted before the announcement.

Strauss also condemned Western’s takeover by what he called “preening zealots.”

“They congratulate each other in an echo chamber and distribute dubious credentials in a daisy chain of obeisance,” he said. 

Strauss, who attended Western, said in a Twitter thread that he found the news of the mandate to be demoralizing.

“Some of the best years of my life (2004-2013) were med school, internal medicine residency and ICU fellowship at Western. I still bleed purple,” he wrote.

“This mandate will hurt people and threatens to ruin a very special place.”

Western University students are planning a protest on campus this Saturday at noon. The event is being organized by graduate student Kendra Hancock, who launched the Enough is Enough Western campaign.

The campaign is calling on the university to reverse course and drop both its mask and booster mandate – giving students the option to choose. 

“I knew this had to be done,” said Hancock in an interview with True North’s Andrew Lawton, “I thought about some things that might be helpful for the community to know, or to have one central spot where people could talk and could support one another.”