PhD candidate abandons research in protest against Western University’s COVID-19 vaccine policy

Jason Falbo has made the difficult decision to withdraw from a PhD program at Western University after studying for nearly seven years after the university announced a COVID-19 vaccine policy requiring all staff and students to have three doses of vaccine. Said he did

On August 22nd, the University of London, Ontario announced its latest COVID-19 Vaccine Policy, all individuals coming to campus must receive a complete primary series and booster of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 1, 2022. Primary series usually means his two doses of his COVID-19 Health Canada-approved vaccine. This policy will remain in place until August 22, 2023.

Falbo, who has been studying electronics and communications engineering at Western University since 2015, said he felt the policy was “totally unacceptable” and decided to take action against it. He said he had graduated after submitting his final thesis and defending himself, but by dropping out of his doctoral program he hoped to raise awareness that the policy was putting students in a difficult position. thinking.

Epoch Times photo
Jason Falbo, Vice President of Engineering, Toronto-based Mircom Group of Companies, Vaughan, Ontario, October 26, 2019. His three doses are mandatory for all staff and students in programs at Western University after the institution announced its COVID-19 vaccine policy on August 22, 2022. (Courtesy of Jason Falbo)

“I didn’t make the decision lightly,” he told The Epoch Times in an Aug. 29 interview. to these obligations. “

“This is not a question of education or of running a university.

Falbo specifically addressed undergraduates and students who have just entered Western University and are about a week away from starting their fall semester.

“It’s very difficult to change course at the last minute,” he said. “Despite the fact that many people were vaccinated, they probably simply needed it, not necessarily because they wanted it.”

Epoch Times photo
On August 27, 2022, a group of students at Western University protest the university’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine. The University of London, Ontario, said on August 22 that anyone on campus in the fall must have at least three of his COVID-19 cases. Shots and wearing masks in the classroom. (Nicole Osborne/Canadian Press)

On August 27, hundreds of students gathered on university campuses to protest the vaccine policy. James Donald, one of the students who attended the rally, questioned the timing of the announcement of the policy, which was announced after some students had paid their first tuition installment.

“Confusing, Inconsistent, and Weird” Policy

Falbo, who works as the vice president of engineering for Toronto-based Mircom Group of Companies, said he is a donor to Western University and a graduate of its bachelor’s degree program. If you must comply with the rules as a current student.

“Completely confusing, inconsistent and bizarre,” he said.

“There are multiple areas where I am eligible for exemption because … I am both an alumnus and a donor, but I am also a current student, so it shows how the policy has been bullshit. discriminate.”

Provided by Western list Includes alumni, donors, and prospective donors in the category of visitors to the university who are exempt from the COVID-19 vaccine policy.

The Epoch Times reached out to Western University for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

right to education

With a vaccine policy announced on August 22nd, Western University is the only Canadian university to mandate booster shots for all staff and students on campus.

Other institutions, such as the University of Toronto and the University of Trent, require vaccinations for their residents, but most Ontario universities do not impose vaccine or mask mandates in the fall semester. The state has lifted proof of vaccination requirements in public spaces.

Falbo said he wrote e-mail He said the vaccine policy discriminates against unvaccinated people and violates their right to education.

“Fundamental human rights cannot be ignored. In my humble opinion, duty is unfair discrimination that blocks access to education for those who do not agree to the vaccine mandate,” he said in an email to the university. I am writing.

“I feel obligated to exercise my right to choose and am currently choosing not to support it. [an] Agencies that block access to education for those who fear being forced to make decisions that create significant personal stress just to have the opportunity to continue their education. “

However, he said he was “completely unsatisfied” with the response from the university, which only directed him to a webpage for voluntarily withdrawing from the doctoral program.

“[There was] There is no conversation, no communication, no negotiation,” Farbo said.

“The West needs to listen and defend its rights. [to] education. “

The Canadian Press contributed to this article.

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Toronto.