Campus Reform | WATCH: How a professor challenged his university’s vaccine mandate and won

WATCH: How a professor challenged his university’s vaccine mandate and won

Prof. Zywicki fought for a medical exemption to his employer’s vaccine mandate based on natural immunity.

He says students and his fellow faculty members have been supportive of his efforts.


When Professor Todd Zywicki found out his employer was instating a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, he wanted to know if natural immunity would satisfy the school's policy. 

“When I heard about this, I first reached to the bureaucrats at the university who designed the policy, and I said, 'Are you guys willing to recognize natural immunity?'....and they wrote back some disingenuous dishonest email about cherry picking some data," Zywicki told Campus Reform.

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He realized that he was unlikely to make progress with people he calls “typical university bureaucrats who just kind of follow orders...and just like don’t have really brains or consciences.”  Zywicki then reached out to the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which began his legal fight. 

“We got affidavits from leading public health experts…as well as my personal immunologist," Zywicki said. His doctor advised against him getting the shot, since he had recovered from COVID-19 in March 2020 and still tested positive for antibodies. The New Civil Liberties Alliance sued the university, and weeks later, GMU granted Zywicki a medical exemption from the mandate. He dropped the suit shortly thereafter. 

Zywicki was eager to get back in the classroom long before a COVID-19 vaccine became widely available. “I wanted to teach in person; I felt like I owed it to my students to teach in person, so I went and got an antibodies test, and my antibodies came back positive…I put my money where my mouth was," he said. 

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Zywicki says potential students have reached out to him to say they are interested in attending the Antonin Scalia School of Law because they followed the story of his fight for a medical exemption. 

He stated that his peers have been equally supportive.

"I have not gotten any gruff at all from any of my colleagues," he said, "except for those who are jealous that I have natural immunity already and they don’t!”

It is the long-term impact of the legal fight, however, that Zywicki is most proud of. “A lot of people have picked up on the arguments we’ve made, policymakers have picked up on the arguments we made in the lawsuit to push for the importance of recognizing natural immunity," he said. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito