For Immediate Release: August 30, 2022
BOSTON, Mass. – Geoff Diehl and Leah Allen, Republican candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, called today for Governor Baker to rescind current requirements that students attending classes at UMass campuses and community colleges be vaccinated against COVID.
“Massachusetts has long prided itself on its commitment to education and higher education,” Diehl said. “That commitment should extend to every child, regardless of vaccination status. Forcing college-aged students to be vaccinated against their free will is simply unfair, not to mention unsupported by current medical guidance. If we continue this trend, we are going to see more and more of these students leave Massachusetts in search of more equitable education opportunities elsewhere, and we don’t want that to happen.”
“It’s time to end the vaccine mandate,” Allen said. “As a Registered Nurse, I lost my job because I did not believe getting a COVID vaccine was the right decision for me and my family. Lots of other workers in Massachusetts had the same misfortune. I believe strongly that we owe better to students pursuing an education at state schools. That’s why I believe the vaccination requirement should be rescinded.”
Diehl and Allen both made clear that they are not opposed to vaccination. Instead, they are opposed to compulsory vaccination due to government mandates. “It’s a matter of free choice and personal medical freedom,” Allen said. “I fully support the decision of people who decide that getting vaccinated is the right decision for themselves and their family. But, I also support the decision of those who feel differently and who don’t want to get injected with a vaccine simply because the government tells them they have to.”
“The state vaccine mandate for college students is wrong and should have been lifted a long time ago,” said Lynne Archambault, a resident of Pepperell who is also a candidate for state Representative. “My daughter, who was permitted to attend two years of college under a religious exemption, had her exemption revoked in her last year of school and was told she couldn’t finish college without getting a vaccine. It’s a completely arbitrary mandate that’s totally unfair to our kids, who just want to get a normal education. I applaud Geoff Diehl and Leah Allen for having the courage to step forward and demand that the vaccine mandate be rescinded.”
Under state law, all students attending class on any of the 15 state community college campuses must show proof of vaccination. The same is true of students attending class at certain UMass campuses, including the system’s flagship campus, UMass Amherst.
Diehl and Allen have made freedom and specifically opposition to vaccine mandates a central issue of their campaigns for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.