September 18, 2021

Taylor Daily Press

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Professor of behavioral psychology in Groningen, Tom Posthums, wants to ask students if they have been vaccinated against corona: 'You have to talk to each other about this'

Professor of behavioral psychology in Groningen, Tom Posthums, wants to ask students if they have been vaccinated against corona: ‘You have to talk to each other about this’

The professor of social psychology at the University of Groningen wants to discuss with his colleagues whether to ask the question of vaccination at the beginning of the lectures. He himself gives only physical lessons for the first time in block 1b in the fall, but he also wants to ask students who ask himself. “Then of course they can reply that it is none of my business. I am curious. But then at least I made it a topic of discussion, and that is what, in my opinion, much more needs to be done.”

As an expert in group psychology, he says it’s unfortunate that people don’t make agreements about vaccinations among themselves, in the workplace and where people gather, but they always wait for government rules.

It seems like we’re used to it and we also love it when decisions are made from above, when in fact this is something you should discuss with each other. We have now declared that it is a sensitive topic not to mention.”

“By this we allow ourselves to impose a state of lack of freedom. For there are students who feel very uncomfortable at the thought of having other students in the lecture hall who have not been vaccinated. There will even be students who do not dare to come at all for this reason.”

You don’t usually accept unsafe behavior either

Postmes describes it as a strange situation that teachers usually have a duty of care for their students, but are now unable to fulfill the duty of care in the case of Corona. “Normally all kinds of unhealthy and unsafe behavior are not acceptable in the lecture hall. Then you can also ask the students if it is safe to keep a less distance in their neighborhood.”

The university council says it follows central government rules, and therefore does not require vaccination certificates. “But at the same time, the letter from the board of directors to employees states that anyone who does not feel comfortable can discuss this with their manager.”

This is what I want to discuss in our team and with our students and PhD students. How do we find a middle ground about who gets vaccinated? I don’t break the rules at all, but only discuss normal morals.”

Professor of international health law, Brigitte Toibs, has previously stated that she endorses a certificate of vaccination as an admission ticket to lectures. But she thinks the university or the cabinet should set those rules. Do not go alone to check at the entrance if someone has been vaccinated.

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