Yale University students are warning that pandemic restrictions have transformed the once liberal campus into an Orwellian surveillance state.
The university has taken extreme lengths to impose restrictions and rules to clamp down on the spread of the coronavirus, even going so far as enforcing a report-based system that calls on students and campus staff to snitch on each other for violating the rules.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Yale University has set up a system that allows anonymous complaints to be lodged against anyone not wearing a mask or even indulging in “handshakes, hugs, and high-fives.”
In one such example, a student who was in the library watching a movie without anyone else around was caught on video not wearing a mask. Within 48-hours, the student received a warning from school officials, informing him that he had “failed to meet the commitments you agreed to in the Yale Community Compact.”
The warning stated that the student would be allowed to tell his side of the story, which officials would then review before deciding if he posed a continued risk to the health and safety of the college, and even to himself.
All for not wearing a mask, alone, in a library, with no one else around.
After two weeks, the student received another warning, stating, “Should you continue to engage in behaviour that violates the Yale Community Compact, you will be placed on Public Health Warning and may face more serious outcomes, including the removal of permission to be on campus.”
In other words, the student faces possible expulsion for not wearing a mask in a large space alone.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the student’s experience was not isolated, with others informing reporters that while many students oppose the restrictions and surveillance of their activities, most of the student body has become a “silenced majority.”
The students who spoke to the publication say that they fear reprisals, including “shame,” and “administrative consequences” for speaking up.
“I have no clue who reported me,” said one of the students, who added: “The system has had a lot of success in keeping people scared.”
In addition to being caught off-guard on campus, the students have also come under attack for posting unmasked photos on social media outside of campus, or with friends and family.
One student said that he was reported for dining outdoors without a mask, in violation of a Yale off-campus dining ban. “This is too much power to put in the hands of students,” arguing that “people can be petty and get classmates in trouble with standards that are changing every five minutes.”
Students who fail to comply with the increasingly strict, and often contradictory rules face expulsion at the maximum, or are threatened to have basic services such as internet access cut off.