Michigan college holds send-off for grads, defying rule set by a Dem governor who couldn’t follow her own regs
If America ever deigns to erect a Mount Rushmore of COVID-19 bungling, we would see the visages of Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and, last but not least, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Whitmer is especially noteworthy among that crew for her crazy ventures into public health Stalinism – such as her bans on Michiganders with second homes driving to them to ride out the pandemic, or on people cutting their own lawns.
Last weekend, however, tiny Hillsdale College, a conservative beacon in the dark morass of American higher education, defied Comrade Gretchen’s crackdown to bid farewell to its 2020 graduates.
The college, in Hillsdale, Mich., hosted a three-day event to celebrate those moving on in life. The plan included an outdoor graduation event that expected to draw up to 2,600 people.
Hillsdale College played by the rules. Administrators required face masks and obtained noise variance from the city in order to spread out the crowd to meet social-distancing guidelines, the conservative group Campus Reform reported. Guests’ temperatures were taken and they were seated six feet apart.
But the school also proceeded by Whitmer’s own order.
On June 1 the governor banned gatherings of more than 100 people. Then she broke her own rule.
On June 4 Whitmer joined a protest over the death of George Floyd, the Black Minneapolis resident who died in police custody on Memorial Day.
As the Detroit News reported, Whitmer “stood shoulder to shoulder” with some participants, hundreds of whom “did not follow social distancing rules.”
The governor’s spokeswoman chided the paper for the insinuation of a double standard. She pointed to Whitmer’s decree that held “[n]othing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution.”
“That includes the right to peaceful protest,” said Whitmer’s flak.
And so Hillsdale College invoked that rule.
In a press release the school stated, “Although that order restricts the size of certain outdoor gatherings, it makes clear that ‘nothing in th[e] order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution under these emergency circumstances,’ including the rights to free speech, assembly, association, and academic freedom secured by the First Amendment.”
The statement further observed that Whitmer had said “under her orders, persons may freely engage in outdoor ‘expressive activities protected by the First Amendment within the State of Michigan,’ provided that those activities follow federal social-distancing guidelines, as the College’s commencement ceremony surely will.”
Robert Norton, the school’s general counsel, said, “This is not an act of defiance – this is totally legal.”
But the Democratic attorney general’s office didn’t see it that way, continuing the governor’s muddled thinking, hypocrisy and dictatorial ways.
The AG’s spokeswoman called the graduation “a lack of consideration for the dangerous threat this virus presents,” adding that “we trust the local law enforcement agencies to exercise their authority and discretion in their enforcement efforts. … the unfortunate circumstances surrounding this pandemic have made that difficult for many, and we encourage alternatives to large assemblies that could further jeopardize the health of many people.”
Perhaps, such as those who want to protest racism.
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