On Thursday, reports surfaced that Birmingham-Southern College students were told that if they were not vaccinated, they could be forced to pay a $500 fee “to offset continual weekly antigen testing and quarantining.”
Some argued the $500 requirement was in defiance of a so-called vaccine passport ban passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this year, which prohibits the requirement of proof of vaccination as a condition of attendance at both private and public colleges, according to guidance issued by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall earlier this week.
State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), the architect of Alabama’s vaccine passport ban, called the Birmingham-Southern fee a “constructive barrier,” which if so could be in violation of the new law. He explained his position during an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Friday and added that he had notified “those in law enforcement.”
“I think the $500 limit gets into a zone where you can say that is a constructive barrier against those who may be unvaccinated,” he explained. “By throwing up such a barrier, you would have to say they are constructively denying students admission because what if you don’t have $500? The bill doesn’t prohibit any type of restrictions based on if you make one group wear masks and the vaccinated no masks, things like that. The bill says you cannot refuse services or education services, in this case, and even private school — it does apply explicitly to private schools, as well, like Birmingham-Southern. So this is something that does apply to the school. And again, the argument can certainly be made that charging the $500 is a constructive denial.”
“I’ve been in touch with those in law enforcement,” Orr added. “They’re aware of it. This is not the end of the story here. I think this will continue to play out.”
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.