An ethics professor in a Canadian university was fired after she refused to be injected with the Covid-19 vaccine.
University of Western Ontario (UWO) terminated staff member Julie Ponesse on September 7th after she refused to get the vaccine, which the institution mandated. In a video posted online, Ponesse defended her stance, calling the university’s vaccine mandate “unethical.”
Ponesse, who also taught at the UWO-affiliated Huron University College, said in a video that her employer’s vaccine mandate posed an ethical dilemma. “My employer has just mandated that I must get a vaccine for COVID-19. If I want to keep working at my job as a professor, I have to take this vaccine.”
Ponesse added that the university has ordered her to get the jab “immediately or not report for work.”
“My school employs me to be an authority on the subject of ethics … [and] I’m here to tell you that it’s ethically wrong to coerce someone to take a vaccine. If it happens to you, you don’t have to do it,” Ponesse said. She added in the video that people’s vaccination status are their own businesses alone and no one had the right to demand that information or influence them in any way.
Additionally, the ethics professor raised concerns about the safety issues surrounding the Covid-19 vaccine, citing medical journals she had read and the colleagues in the university she spoke to. “There are questions about how well they work, [and] nobody’s promising that I won’t get … or transmit [COVID-19] if I get the vaccine, she said.
Ponesse said that she is not anti-vaccine as she has taken other vaccines in the past.
“Ultimately, none of that matters to me, because I am a professor of ethics and … a Canadian. I’m entitled to make choices about what does and what does not enter my body regardless of my reasons.
“If I’m allowed back into my university, it’s my job to teach my students that this is wrong. [It] is ethically wrong to impose an experimental medical procedure as a condition of employment.”
Despite speaking directly to her students encouraging them to take control of their own health, the professor informed everyone of her eventual fate: “I am facing imminent dismissal after 20 years on the job, because I will not submit to having an experimental vaccine injected into my body.”
After revealing that she would be forced to step down from her position at the university, Ponesse broke down in tears before ending the video.
Drew Davidson, a spokesman for Huron, refused to answer specific questions over Ponesse’s employment status. He told CTV News: “While I can’t comment on individual HR matters, I can confirm to you at this time [that] no one at Huron has been dismissed as a result of this policy.”
However, Davidson clarified that anyone who failed to submit proof of vaccination by September 7th would not be allowed on campus.
Both UWO and Huron have imposed Covid vaccine mandates on students, employees, and visitors. Those who refuse to get vaccinated are required to present two negative Covid-19 antigen tests on a weekly basis. The institutions have both permitted medical and religious exemptions, along with others indicated in the Ontario Human Rights Code. However, those awaiting a decision for these exemptions are still subject to Covid testing.
The UWO and Huron policies are set to be effective from September 7th 2021 until Sep. 7th of the following year. Both universities have said that they will review the policies “on a regular basis” to ensure that measures “remain appropriate in consideration of the circumstances and any recommendation … by the [Ontario] provincial government and public health officials.”
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