Dr. Julie Ponesse, a veteran ethics professor at a university in Canada, was placed on leave after she delivered a very brief virtual lecture in which she outlined the real-life ethical dilemma she faced when her employer mandated her vaccination against COVID-19.
The Huron University College educator shared the remarks with her first-year students, explaining to them the “universally accepted ethics of coercing people into medical procedures.”
“My employer has just mandated that I must get a vaccine for COVID-19,” Ponesse explained. “If I want to keep working at my job as a professor, I have to take this vaccine. Here’s my conundrum. My school employs me to be an authority on the subject of ethics. I hold a Ph.D. in ethics and ancient philosophy and I’m here to tell you it’s ethically wrong to coerce someone to take a vaccine.”
“If this happens to you, you don’t have to do it,” the professor continued. “If you don’t want a COVID vaccine, don’t take one — end of discussion. It’s your own business. But that’s not the approach of the University of Western Ontario, which has suddenly required that I be vaccinated immediately, or not report for work. I am facing imminent dismissal after 20 years on the job.”
While she’s taken “plenty of vaccines” over the course of her life, Ponesse argued the inoculations currently available against COVID-19 are, in her view, experimental in nature, may pose unforeseen risks, and have not yet sufficiently proven to be effective against contracting or unintentionally spreading the virus.
Furthermore, Ponesse suggested she does not work in a “high-risk environment” as an academician, adding her job is to “teach how to think critically; to ask questions that might expose a false argument.”
“This is my first and, potentially, my last lesson of the year,” she told her students. “In the spirit of Socrates, who was executed for asking questions, this lesson will consist of only one question: When a person has done the same job to the satisfaction of her employer for 20 years, is it right or is it wrong to suddenly demand that they submit to an unnecessary medical procedure in order to keep their job?”
She concluded her lecture by stating, “I already know the answer.”
After an unnamed person also on the call lauded Ponesse for her “amazing” words, the professor broke down in tears.
Ponesse emailed the head of her department last week to tell him she will not receive a COVID-19 vaccination, wear a mask while teaching, or submit to weekly testing.
Within half an hour, the professor told the National Post, she received a response from the dean of her school, informing her that she “would be dismissed and put on temporary paid leave.”
The Post disputed the claims Ponesse made during her brief “lesson” to her students. The outlet noted that health authorities in Canada — as well as in many other countries — “approved the vaccines for emergency use after confirming their safety and efficacy,” noting that “preliminary studies have found that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are about 90 percent effective against COVID-19 and the vast majority of cases are now among the unvaccinated.”
In late August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer inoculation.
YouTube, it should be noted, removed footage of Ponesse’s video from its platform, stating it violated the site’s “community guidelines.” The video has since been uploaded to the video-sharing platform Rumble.
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