“There are hills on which to compromise and those upon which to die” – 4th year McMaster student considers ending degree over vaccine mandate

By: Greg Staley

Written On: 2021-08-25

A 4th year French and History Undergraduate named Cecilia Di Benedetto has written McMaster University indicating that the universities new Covid-19 vaccine mandate for students “is wrong” and that she does not support it. In her letter to McMaster Cecilia wrote that she is considering ending her degree over it. The born and raised Hamiltonian wrote that “a University must be a place of open debate and dialogue” and hear all sides before taking a firm stance on any issue and as far as she can see, “no such debates or public inquiry have taken place.” She added that the universities’ virtual town halls and online surveys don’t suffice when it comes to “so grave a matter.”

According to McMaster University mandatory Covid-19 vaccines will be required as of September 7th, 2021. The schools letter says that “some time will be needed to help those requesting an accommodation for human rights grounds.” These grounds include medical conditions which would prevent a person from receiving a COVID vaccine. “The university will work with those who receive an exemption to ensure they are connected with the appropriate resources to develop a reasonable and appropriate accommodation plan” and that can make “appropriate alternative health and safety measures.” We have reached out to McMaster’s media relations to clarify how this policy will work in actuality.

In her letter to McMaster, Cecilia indicated that she finds McMaster University’s recent position on mandating the Covid vaccine for students to be “of great concern.”

“This is a very slippery slope in which you have chosen to engage – regardless of your openness to students, faculty, and staff members’ medical exemptions,” Cecilia wrote.

Cecilia said there are two main issues with the policy. The first is that “vaccination status is of a personal, private, medical matter and should not be demanded of any institution or person.” The second central issue Cecilia writes is that “there is not in fact a scientific consensus on the efficacy or the safety of these vaccinations.” She then referred to Dr. Robert Malone as an example of the lack of scientific consensus.

Cecilia says she is most concerned about the “blatant and forceful censorship of our medical and academic professionals (some of whom are infectious disease specialists) who have been threatened to have their licenses revoked and their careers cancelled for sharing any information and/or presenting any clinical evidence that does not promote these vaccinations or these other measures.”

Cecilia added that the “financial aspect to all these measures” can’t be ignored. “Testing, the masking, etc. Corporations are profiting at unimaginable levels” she wrote. In her view, “Information is being strategically withheld” and students are not encouraged to investigate the matter further.

Cecilia added that it’s “no one’s business to know our medical details.” She wrote; “We cannot become a society that engages in creating further ‘otherness’ and division – the very principles our institutions seem to promote as being the root causes to violence and war.”

Throughout the letter, Cecilia continued to urge McMaster to avoid engaging in this “dangerous precedent” of mandating the Covid-19 vaccine for students.

“I urge you to not be a part of this segregating of our fellow man. It is fundamentally and morally wrong. As a place of higher learning, we must stand for what is right – regardless of what the majority seem to be saying or doing.”

She wrote that conviction is something “more and more universities and colleges are quashing rather than fostering in young minds.”

In closing out her letter to McMaster Cecilia wrote;

“I write this not only in defense of my fellow (and younger) students, but also for the dear faculty of my beloved university who have my utmost respect. Not to mention, in the memory of my own Nonno who fought against such fascism and for my great Zio who managed to narrowly escape from a Nazi internment camp as an Italian POW.”

Cecilia wrapped up the letter by writing that “There are hills on which to compromise and those upon which to die. This is the hill I am prepared to die on.”

Cecilia concluded the letter by writing “If we can’t (or we refuse) to see the writing on the wall in this hour, we are doomed; and in the end our demise will have actually had little to do with an invisible pathogen.”

In an email with Diverge Media Cecilia said that she has not yet decided how far she will take her stand against this. “I may continue this term online and see how things go, or at some point, I might call it quits on this degree and not support the university anymore. I don’t know. I just felt it was important to voice the fundamental issues with these mandates, and with the idea of a university segregating their students and asking for such personal medical information. I just couldn’t stay silent on this one.”

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Published by Greg Staley

Greg Staley is a husband and a father to 4 beautiful girls. He is the owner of Diverge Media and takes pride in telling the stories that matter - even if they may be unpopular. In addition to writing, editing, and producing videos and articles for Diverge, Mr. Staley also works full-time on a farm. Mr. Staley is working hard to be able to pursue Diverge Media full-time and wholeheartedly believes that it will become a reality in the near-future with the support of the readers/viewers of Diverge Media.