Boston University, Stop Lobbying Congress for Corporate Immunity

Boston University

https://www.reddit.com/r/boston/comments/f0h0en/fall_skyline_from_bu_law_school/

Sign our petition to tell the Boston University to stop lobbying Congress for corporate immunity! Students, employees, and all other faculty should be able to hold BU accountable if it fails to reopen safely.

Petition by
Jessica Rempe
Idaho Falls, Idaho

To: Boston University
From: [Your Name]

We demand that Boston University oppose and stop lobbying Congress for corporate immunity and not require students to waive liability when we return to campus.

BU is a member of the American Council on Education, an industry group which is lobbying Congress to demand that big employers, like universities, get immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits when they reopen.

Allowing colleges to reopen with immunity would give them a free pass to ignore student and employee health. [1] Students and faculty alike would be stripped of any ability to hold schools accountable. Corporate immunity would give colleges fewer incentives to incorporate even the most basic safety precautions, especially for Black and Brown campus workers who are already at a disproportionate risk. The Boston Globe reports that “Hispanic residents make up 12 percent of the population, but their rate of positive cases is nearly 30 percent. Similarly, Black residents represent about 7 percent of the population, but their rate of positive COVID-19 cases is double that, at 14.4 percent. Overall, the state data show, the rate of positive cases among Black and brown residents is more than three times that of white residents.” [2] In addition, flouting basic safety precautions and CDC guidelines will only result in more COVID-19 cases and an inevitable return to online learning.

Blanket corporate immunity could shield universities and other employers if they:

• Unreasonably fail to provide students and campus workers with PPE.
• Fail to take reasonable steps to ensure that students can socially distance in classrooms and dorms.
• Are aware that a student has tested positive for COVID-19, and the school unreasonably fails to trace and test other campus community members that the student has come into contact with.
• Fail to take reasonable steps to prevent students who are sick from coming to class.
• Unreasonably ignore clear guidance from state or federal public health officials.
Supporters of immunity see it as a necessary step to shield schools and businesses as they begin to reopen. However, state tort law only requires reasonable measures be taken to keep students and workers safe. To sue, a victim would also have to show the school caused the exposure. In other words, it is already hard to sue schools for putting students and workers at risk.
We call on Boston University to stop lobbying Congress for corporate immunity and not require students to waive liability to come back to school in the future.

[1] https://www.peoplesparity.org/opposecorporateimmunityforschools/
[2] https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/06/19/nation/new-data-states-coronavirus-cases-deaths-show-stark-racial-divide/

Co-Sponsors:
People's Parity Project at BU,
American Constitution Society at BU,
BU NLG,
SEIU Local 509,
UAW Local 2324,
BU Public Interest Project

Signed,