In March, 2021, Rutgers university announced all students returning to campus in the Fall would have to show proof they were vaccinated against COVID-19 or they would be dis-enrolled.

At the time, Rutgers officials boasted they were the first school in the United States to make such a requirement. Other schools soon followed.

Now, Rutgers is among the last prominent universities to drop the vaccine mandate.

New Jersey State Sen. Declan O'Scanlon (R-Marlboro) calls that "absurd."

All students must present evidence of COVID-19 immunization. Evidence of immunization must be uploaded to the Rutgers Immunization Portal as soon as the series is completed and no later than the beginning of the first semester or session for which the student is enrolled for classes or such earlier time as the University may direct. - Rutgers University Vaccination Policy

"It is difficult to put into words just how absurd and irrational the vaccination policy is at Rutgers University," O’Scanlon said in a statement.

He said the policy has "has no basis in science whatsoever."

Lift the vaccine mandate or lose funding

O'Scanlon suggests that if Rutgers refuses to lift the mandate, they should lose state funding.

"Until Rutgers lifts the mandate, I’m calling for a cut in funding," O'Scanlon said, "And, students who are thinking about going to Rutgers, but are not going due to the vaccine mandate, should be able to apply for school aid to use at whatever institution they want."

On its website detailing the vaccination mandate for students, Rutgers states the policy is "to minimize COVID outbreaks" and "to prevent and reduce the risk of COVID transmission."

O'Scanlon takes issue with the justification, claiming while the vaccine does provide some protection against serious illness to the vaccinated individual, "it does not stop transmission or contraction of COVID-19."

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

What are other colleges and universities doing?

Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the last vaccine mandates in New Jersey in April, 2023.

Hospitals, colleges, universities and private businesses are allowed to set their own rules, but most of the vaccine mandates have been lifted.

"Unlike many other colleges and universities throughout the state, Rutgers seems incapable of understanding that the public health emergency is over, and has been over since last May," O'Scanlon says.

Many schools have lifted blanket vaccine mandates. Among them, O'Scanlon says, are:

🔺 Kean University
🔺 Princeton University
🔺 New Jersey Institute of Technology
🔺 Seton Hall University
🔺 The College of New Jersey

"This shows just how out of touch and extreme Rutgers’ policies are," O’Scanlon claims.

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