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Arizona State University has implemented a rigid COVID-19 mask policy that is creating a lot of unhappiness for visitors, students, and faculty. But is the rigidity and overreach of ASU’s policy touching on and violating students’ civil rights? Some students believe so and are planning to protest.

Conservative students are saying the policy goes too far and is encroaching on such fundamental constitutional rights such as assembly, privacy, and speech. ASU has set up a mask policy it claims is based on science, but is it?  Or, is ASU flexing its muscles and seizing the opportunity to create compliance standards that thwart the exercise of the constitutional rights of students?

The Board approved mask policy, implemented and enforced by ASU President Michael Crow, calls for expulsion of those who disobey the marketing phrase “Forks Up and Masks Up.” There is a push to tie the wearing of masks to loyalty and connect face coverings to a kind of cult-like obedience as a measure of Sun Devil loyalty. ASU is using slick marketing to promote the message that silent compliance proves loyalty.

Here’s ASU’s cute video attempt to inculcate its message of total compliance.

Conservative students have told me that the mask standards are creating a hostile environment that discriminates against their rights to assemble, and their expectation of privacy. Students, and others, are seeing the enforcement of the policy as nothing more than the creation of fake social justice standards. Is President Michael Crow’s mask policy oppressive against those who believe masks are a civil liberties issue and provide no guaranteed prevention from contracting COVID-19?

Is ASU’s mask policy inhibiting the exercise of constitutional rights? The students I spoke to say yes. In fact, the mask policy and social distancing requirements are being used to discourage student groups from exercising their free speech and assembly rights. Conservative students say the mask policy can be used to deny students’ rights to meet and that the policy is deliberately egregious for this reason.

Do publicly funded education institutions have a right to use stringent and unproven mask policies as a tool designed to deliberately discourage and diminish, or worse, altogether eliminate, free speech and the right to assemble?

It’s a big question, and one many patriotic students are demanding ASU address, sooner rather than later. ASU is doing what all government institutions do when demanding mass compliance with intolerable and unnecessary group compliance, shaming. The message “Wearing is Caring” is designed to imply that if one does not fully adopt ASU’s mask policy, they simply don’t care about the health of others…they are selfish. Shame on them all!

Some students are preparing to confront the ASU Administration over the inflexible mask policy they say infringes on their civil liberties.  They even scheduled a noon march for October 5, 2020, that will march from the Hayden Lawn to the offices of President Michael Crow and the Board of Regents. You can download the invitation flyer here.

When ASU President Michael Crow implemented the mask policy on June 12, 2020, he made it mandatory for every person on the ASU Campus, and he attempted to back his policy with pseudoscience with the following false statement:

The scientific evidence is clear: wearing a face covering helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.   – Michael Crow, President

You will immediately notice Mr. Crow’s statement links to so-called scientific evidence. But the link takes you to an article by Rhonda Olson, ASU’s Manager of Marketing and Communication, at the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. The article poses the question of whether masks ought to be worn to grocery stores as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Then it links to a study by supposed academic minds who make this startling statement:

Face mask use by the general public for limiting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is controversial, though increasingly recommended, and the potential of this intervention is not well understood.  – Steffen E.Eikenberry

This internal, back-and-forth incestuous linking from one academic to another has a way of sounding authoritative, exhaustive, and fully convincing. Just when I thought the mask argument was settled, they told me instead, it might only be “helpful“ based on some equations.

Worse, the study used as the foundation for ASU’s  “Fork Up – Mask Up” marketing scheme and its mask policy is based on the use of the 3M N-95 mask. This is a mask consumers can no longer purchase in the open market! The N-95 masks are restricted by federal and state policy to use ONLY by front-line medical workers.

I called 3m and spoke to two of their trained customer service managers. When I inquired about the efficacy of the N-95 mask to prevent the spread of COVID, I was told without hesitation by both people, “We don’t make that claim.”  I was told the masks were designed for particles like dirt, dust, and sand. So I probed further, asking, “Have those masks been clinically tested to see if they prevent the spread of COVID-19?” I was told, “No, 3M has never teste the N-95 mask against COVID-19.”  Boldly I asked, “Who said the N-95 Mask would prevent the spread of the virus?” The answer came back immediately, “The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) told us.”

The utilization of internal science, shrouded in fake data creation that seems sophisticated is the means by which ASU perpetuates its mask fraud.

The article referred to and linked to by Michael Crow actually lists the name and email address of Rhonda Olson as (480) 727-2468 and . I called and emailed Ms. Olson’s office at 3:50 pm, September 20, 2020, to inquire about the research project and its claims.  The phone number cited actually forwards to a voice mail for (602) 371-8975. Seems like a diversion tactic to me.

After waiting nearly a week for ASU representatives to respond, I gave up. Like all taxpayer funded government institutions, I suppose they feel a sense of entitlement and exemption from the need to respond to questions, scrutiny, or policy examination.

ASU’s purported study of the use of masks as a deterrent to the spread of COVID -19 concludes with this amazing statement:

In conclusion, our findings suggest that face mask use should be as nearly universal (i.e., nation-wide) as possible and implemented without delay, even if most masks are homemade and of relatively low quality. This measure could contribute greatly to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, with the benefit greatest in conjunction with other non-pharmaceutical interventions that reduce community transmission. Despite uncertainty, the potential for benefit, the lack of obvious harm, and the precautionary principle lead us to strongly recommend as close to universal (homemade, unless medical masks can be used without diverting healthcare supply) mask use by the general public as possible.

Notice the conclusion: We have to go universal with masks, without delay, even if the mask is homemade and of relatively low quality. Then it states the universal and forced masking of citizens “could contribute” so long as mask use is used “in conjunction with other non-pharmaceutical intervention,”  whatever that means. The conclusion then refers to “uncertainty,” and “potential for benefit” and essentially says, “it can’t hurt to try” but we need to insist on “as close to universal mask use by the general public as possible.”

There’s your science!  After all, almost daily we’re commanded to follow the science wherever it takes us and to never question it. Indeed, we’ve been repeatedly intimidated, shamed, and made fearful that we’re on the verge of doomsday unless we wear a mask, any mask, even a homemade mask of low quality!

This is the point of ASU’s conservative students. Under the iron-fisted insistence of Michael Crow, backed by a Board of Regents, if you are a conservative who opposes the mask mandate for reasons of political conscience, too bad. If you want to have a campus meeting you must follow each and every arduous guideline for attendees, speakers, seating, spacing, and use of equipment.

All of this seems to be predicated on ASU’s internal, inter-departmental junk science that concludes with a resounding dud. Students must wear a mask, it might help, although there is no hard empirical proof a mask will stop the transmission or reception of the contagion…but, we have to make it universal, just in case.

It gets worse for ASU’s students. The spies are out in full force to ensure strict adherence to the ASU pseudo-science mask policy. I’m told by more than one contact that ASU’s mask mandate extends to all students, everywhere, all the time, even in the off-campus private lives.

Students have had enough of ASU’s bogus mask police which they regard as lacking in science, and more importantly, they regard the policy as a violation of their civil liberties. ASU wants students to wear masks when they are off-campus, and if they are found maskless they face the possibility of permanent expulsion.

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