Corona pass on campus: interesting option or Orwellian plan?

16 Sep 2021

Now that a Corona pass becomes necessary to go to the pub or the cinema, this begs the question whether an admission ticket like that is also a desirable development on campus. Especially since lecture halls will be fully opened again from the 25th of September onwards. A supporter and an opponent speak.

Arnoud Lagendijk – professor of Social Geography
‘I’m all for introducing the corona pass at university. The campus is more ore less comparable to a festival: there are a lot of people coming together on a limited space, and they have continuous intensive contact with one another over a longer amount of time. Then a corona pass isn’t a crazy idea – as long as its use is time-restricted. This would allow us to step away from the maximum group size of 75 people for lectures more safely (the limit will be abolished from the 25th of September onwards, ed.) and we need to provide much less hybrid education. Students and employees who, at the moment, still feel not protected enough, can come back then.’

Arnoud Lagendijk. Photo: RU

‘Germany already works with a similar system of corona certificates and I’m quite charmed by the idea. Campuses are open again and there are hardly any restrictions in place. There are more testing facilities in Germany than here as well – also on campus. On top of that, they are also free. If it were up to me, we should implement something like that at Radboud too.’

‘There are more testing facilities in Germany than here – also on campus.’

‘I’m not worried that regulations like these are gatekeeping the access to education. But they have to be realistic and with the benefit of the public in mind. We especially have to get into contact with the – small – group of people opposed to the vaccination. That is their choice, but they have to understand that this is not without consequences. They will miss on-campus education. However, I do think that people should be able to sit exams on campus without a corona pass. Those can be organized with social distancing rules in place.’

René ten Bos – professor of Philosophy of Management Sciences
‘As far as I’m concerned, we won’t have a corona pass at Radboud University. With that, you’re creating a very undesirable split. You de facto make people who do not want to get tested or vaccinated into second-class citizens. This reminds me of the Federal German Republic during the 1970s where people could get a Berufsverbot. Moreover, a pass like this goes against bodily autonomy, a basic right. And don’t be mistaken: children are suffering from continuous testing.’

René ten Bos. Photo: Erik van ’t Hullenaar

‘With regulations like those, we’re moving quite closely to Germany – there must be a political reason behind it. But I don’t understand why we, for example, don’t follow the path of the Danish who have not abolished all regulations. And the British also aren’t going to go with the corona pass. They, at the very least, realise that corona has become an endemic disease.’

‘A corona pass creates Orwellian practices’

‘The benefits of a pass like this one on campus are also relatively small. It will not influence the total amount of infections that much and is, matter-of-factly, a huge overreaction. The real issues lie with the low vaccination numbers in parts of the country with many people with a migration background, or in villages like Urk. If we really want to fight corona, we would be better off focusing on groups who are less likely to be vaccinated instead of implementing Orwellian practices with a corona pass like that. I am also pro vaccination, don’t get me wrong – but then especially of high-risk groups. I’m very skeptical about the vaccination of young adults and children. The WHO agrees: they would much rather see old people in non-Western countries vaccinated than children here.’


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