Hygiene Socialism on College Campuses

    What economics professor Don Boudreaux calls “hygiene socialism” has, as anyone would expect, found favor among college officials. The same people who think it’s necessary to protect students from “harmful” words and “dangerous” books have flexed their muscles to try to keep students, a group at very low risk from COVID, from contracting or spreading it.

    In today’s Martin Center article, Megan Zogby looks at the tactics in use around the country.

    She writes, “Sequestration keeps students in their dorms or campus apartments and restricts them from leaving unless it’s for meals, a COVID-19 test, or to get medical attention. Sequestration is more of a formalized ‘lockdown’ that campus officials would declare when students returned to campus or when cases would spike.”

    At UC-Berkeley, the school even has guards to keep sequestered students in their rooms.

    There are also “wellness days.” She explains, “Colleges have also changed their academic calendars, shortening spring break or delaying it so students can stay on campus and avoid travel. At North Carolina State University, administrators created ‘wellness days’ that give students the day off and ask professors not to require assignments as an alternative to spring break. Students stay on campus but get a free day (though professors have not always spared students an exam or assignment on a wellness day).”

    And there are testing requirements — twice per week at the University of Illinois.

    Will American college campuses ever return to normal? Or is hygiene socialism here to stay?

    George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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