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Northern Illinois University professor demands that students mask in his class, indicates that failure to mask while indoors reflects racism and ableism

Jahred Adelman, associate professor and director of graduate studies at Northern Illinois University’s Department of Physics, has demanded that students wear a mask in his class, warned that anyone who fails to comply will be asked to depart, and indicated that refusal to don a mask while indoors reflects both racism and ableism.

“Masks are required AT ALL times in PHYS 253. Here and in your labs,” Adelman’s course syllabus states, according to Young America’s Foundation. “It is not pleasant, but it is for your health and safety, my health and safety, and the health and safety of your friends and colleagues. If you do not follow this requirement, you will be asked to leave.”

Northern Illinois University allows teachers to decide for themselves whether they want to mandate masking in their classes.

“The university allows professors to set mask policy in their classrooms and laboratories. I cannot and would not tell students what to do outside of my class, but if I can do my part to keep everyone a little safer while we learn physics, I will do so. Of particular concern to me is protecting those students of color and those with special health demands and needs, whom studies have shown are disproportionately impacted by the virus,” Adelman told Fox News via email.

YAF posted a photo of a message that declares, “an important policy of PHYS 253 is an equitable and just atmosphere for all class members.”

“Refusing to mask indoors is a manifestation of ableism and racism,” the notice delcares, calling this “an exercise of individual privilege that tells the most vulnerable that their health and the health of their loved ones does not matter.”

That language is substantially identical to the language that Jessica N. Pabón, associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at SUNY New Paltz, posted on Twitter in August — Pabón noted that she was including masking in her syllabi, though she said that the language was not finalized. “Refusing to mask indoors is a manifestation of ableism and racism, an exercise of individual privilege that tells the most vulnerable that their health does not matter,” the text declared.

u201cBuilding #mask wearing into my syllabiu2014tied right to the learning outcomes. (Wording not finalized!) #AcademicTwitteru201d

— Pro-Mask Pro-Abortion Jessica N. Pabu00f3n (she/ella) (@Pro-Mask Pro-Abortion Jessica N. Pabu00f3n (she/ella))

Later in August, Pabón posted what appeared to be another version of the statement on masking.

“Refusing to mask indoors is a manifestation of ableism (dismissing the risks for immunocompromised people and making the classroom unsafe/inaccessible) and racism (racial and ethnic minorities in the US have higher rates of infection and death caused by the COVID-19 virus than white people); refusing to mask while indoors is an exercise of individual privilege that tells the most vulnerable that their health does not matter, that their lives do not matter,” Pabón’s post declared.

The SUNY New Paltz website notes that the school “will not enforce individual requests by faculty that students wear masks in specific courses. No conduct charges will be brought against students who fail to comply with such requests.”

u201c@JenniferMusial @ColleenDerkatch Hi! A few things: I got an email from admin saying I can’t ask them to mask. I CAN, but the university won’t enforce it so look for specific language in the their policies. I shared & became a target for right-wing nutters. Last, there are exceptions and day 1 is focused on care.u201d

— Colleen Derkatch (@Colleen Derkatch)