Dr. Drelich's Letter to President Koubek and Flex Task Force Chair Schulte Opposing MTU's Mask Mandate

January 6, 2022

Richard Koubek, President
Sarah Schulte, Chair of MTU Flex Task Force
Michigan Technological University

I am writing this letter on behalf of members of Huskies for America – faculty and staff, who advocate critical independent thinking (and traditional values) among Michigan Tech students. Huskies for America strongly opposes the mask wearing mandate on campus and considers it a non-scientific and politically driven policy.

We would like to ask you and/or the MTU Flex Task Force to provide us and the campus community with scientific and medical documentation that supports your decision on the mask mandate that has been implemented on campus. It appears to us that the mask wearing mandate contradicts the preponderance of medical and scientific studies conducted on COVID-19 and influenza (similarly sized virus) and its variants, with results published broadly in numerous medical and scientific articles, as well as in many books. For example, the following very recently published books summarize the main findings and provide detailed information about sources of medical and scientific studies conducted on COVID and influenza viruses:

    Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health, Skyhorse Publishing, New York 2021

    Scott W. Atlas, A Plague Upon Our House: My Fight at the Trump White House to Stop COVID from Destroying America, Liberatio Protocol, New York 2021

    Steve Deace and Todd Erzen, Faucian Bargain: the Most Powerful and Dangerous Bureaucrat in American History, Post Hill Press, Nashville 2021

For your convenience, one section from the second book is copied and attached to the email separately. This section is extremely important because it presents daily infection rates for COVID and their correlation with mask mandates monitored for several states, the entire United States and several countries. The data were prepared by medical statisticians and top national epidemiologists, and reveal that there is no correlation between mask mandates and COVID spread.

In general, peer-reviewed science, well cited in the above-listed books, offers limited support for masking. For example, it has been proven on a number of occasions that population masks are not effective in stopping the spread of the infections (e.g. findings reported by Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-based Medicine as early as the beginning of 2020 and by the CDC in May 2020). As is well known by now, all lockdowns and mandates implemented across the US for two years failed to stop infections; Michigan Tech campus is no exception to the rest of the US. According to CDC data, 85% of people in the US who contracted COVID reported wearing masks, and mask mandates had no effect on case rates, despite 93% compliance with masking.

Masks may grossly reduce droplets from a sneeze, but do not prevent COVID-19 viral exposure and spread of infections because the viral particles are much smaller than the gaps between mask mesh fibers, and gaps between masks and faces. Although all Michigan Tech students wear masks indoors when on campus, a majority of them do not wear them when walking and gathering outside the buildings, entering local stores, restaurants, and in many other places. Is the virus only able to spread when the students are indoors on campus? It is unfortunate that this mandate has been imposed on a young, healthy, extremely low-risk population of people by an institution that is supposed to be a leader in science and engineering.  It is unfortunate that we now practice the overt stigma of blind obedience to an authority. In our opinion, this cultivates an unprecedented stressful educational environment that contradicts the core values of our university.

Whereas the purported benefits of masking are extremely well publicized, we are wondering whether the MTU Flex Task Force and you are aware of the harmful effects of masks and mask mandates on our students. Not surprisingly to us, the medical implications of mask wearing mandates are completely ignored on campus in spite of research findings that masks increase social isolation and foster divisions among the student body. The campus mandates are also responsible for psychological injuries to students, something that should at least be recognized, monitored and perhaps even studied on campus. Other detrimental effects of masks include poor air quality breathing, with oxygen deprivation and carbon dioxide retention, as well as substantial bacterial build up on masks. We understand where the ideological pressure is coming from. Yet we are still surprised that the MTU Flex Task Force is not concerned about the mental and physical health of our students, even while it chooses to follow a non-scientific use of masks. We are not suggesting that high risk individuals on campus be ignored. Indeed, those faculty, staff, and students who are at serious risk from COVID should and do have the option to wear masks, vaccinate and/or work remotely.

In summary, we believe that the current mask wearing policy is illogical, and if needed could be just optional to students, faculty and staff at MTU. It causes more harms than benefit to our students, who are overwhelmingly part of a low-risk demographic, especially in the current ending stage of the pandemic, with OMICRON and any new coming variants that are not lethal and cause very mild symptoms to healthy people. We ask you to reconsider and cancel this mandate and shield students from the anxieties and risk aversion of the irrational. We can only surmise that many on campus have been misled into thinking this sacrifice serves a broader interest or that the incentives on their social status and career advancement for conformity are so great they are afraid to speak up.

Jarek Drelich
Representing Huskies for America

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