NEW ORLEANS — Unvaccinated students at Xavier University are facing serious consequences for not following the university's vaccine mandate.
Students who don't comply face disenrollment.
Colleges and universities throughout the country have put vaccine mandates in place. Enforcement at some of these colleges has led to fines for unvaccinated students or loss of WIFI privileges on campus, but here at Louisiana's Xavier University, the unvaccinated students are at risk of being disenrolled.
Paul Thomas was one of those students.
"This is a stop-gap in people's lives. I guess they don't see it that way, but it's true," said junior Paul Thomas.
Xavier University is one of 773 colleges now requiring the covid vaccine.
"I scrambled to find any way, maybe, I could get health cleared without it showing up with a negative COVID test, anything for real and it didn't seem reasonable," said Paul Thomas.
This academic school year started amid a surge in covid cases.
"Clearly, we would be remiss if we did not have an abundance of caution," Xavier University Vice President of Administration Patrice Bell.
Patrice Bell is Xavier's Chief of Staff and Vice President of Admin. She said that students were warned they had to meet vaccine requirements, including the covid-19 vaccine, by mid-July.
The first day of classes was on Monday, August 23rd. The university started disenrolling students that day.
"We determined that the way could continue our pathway to success for these students we serve was to mandate to vaccinate," said Patrice Bell.
"To disenroll someone just because they feel forced to get the vaccine shouldn't be a policy," said freshman Robert Ellis.
Though the action may seem harsh, Bell said it's necessary.
"Some people are making personal choices and we respect those choices but we, as Xavier, have to make a decision based on the the overall best interest of the entire community," said Patrice Bell.
There are hopes that enforcement will keep the university on the right path to full vaccination.
Thomas got the shot so he could be cleared to rejoin classes. Something he said he may not have done if he wasn't forced to do so.
"I put my education ahead of my health safety which is crazy considering it's for healthy safety," said junior, Paul Thomas.
The administration said the school of almost 34 hundred students almost reached full compliance. The university said they will ensure those that didn't return in the spring or have options to continue their education.