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Rantz: UW Seattle students stupidly claim doctor’s notes are literally harmful

The University of Washington campus. (University of Washington/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

Seattle college students who pretend to be sick in order to avoid tests are fighting back using tired and transparent social justice arguments at the University of Washington.

The student government unanimously passed a resolution asking the school to bar professors from asking for doctor’s notes for short term illnesses. Only, unless you have a particularly strict professor, you’re not asked to provide a doctor’s note.

“I skip all the time,” one UW business student tells me. He’s never had to provide a doctor’s note, probably because he doesn’t conveniently get sick when a crucial assignment is due.

Because you can’t pass a resolution saying “sometimes, we just need an extra day to study so please let me fake an illness,” student politicians came up with a rather wild and embarrassing social justice excuse: Doctor’s notes can cause literal harm!

The resolution makes many ludicrous claims.

“WHEREAS students who are forced into visiting a medical provider for the sole purpose of obtaining a medical excuse note are pressured into engaging in a costly, and potentially risk [sic], patient-provider relationship without necessarily having an immediate medical need;”

“WHEREAS students who are forced into visiting a medical provider for the sole purpose of obtaining a medical excuse note are pressured into ensuring that they describe their symptoms in such a way that medical providers are guaranteed to provide them with a medical excuse note, which may then lead to tests and procedures that incur risk and/or are physically harmful;”

Oy. This is absolute nonsense (and not to mention redundant), though kudos to these kids for trying.

If you don’t have an immediate medical need for, say, the common cold, the doctor isn’t pressuring you into risky medical procedure. Doctors are trained to decipher what tests are necessary and if there’s no immediate medical need, they’re not forcing you into some random “risky” procedure.

Now, if you’re feigning bloody stool to get out of a test, I do suppose your doctor will have you engage in costly tests but that’s on you for lying. And that’s what this resolution reads as: The anxious whining of kids caught in a medical lie.

“WHEREAS providers are trained to be patient advocates and are thus almost always guaranteed to issue medical excuse notes for their patients resulting in no meaningful check on student behavior;”

Wait. Just before you said doctors will put you through all sorts of risky tests and procedures when you show up asking for a note, but now you’re saying they’re responsible stewards of your health and well being. And this seems to imply you’ll get the note written, even if you’re lying, so it won’t stop bad behavior. Again, they’re just complaining that they have to put in the extra effort when they lie to get out of class.

“WHEREAS in most cases of short-term illness, providers must rely on students’ descriptions of their symptoms – sometimes after the illness has already passed leaving the provider with little to no basis for evaluation;”

I mean, is this true? The resolution states this definitively, as if they have data to back it up. They don’t provide it. They’re just stating something with confidence so that you believe it’s true — kind of like when the student emails the teacher pretending to suddenly have a stomach virus the day a report is due. You just lean in and commit and hope no one calls you out.

“WHEREAS requiring students to procure and submit medical excuse notes significantly disadvantages students from marginalized communities who are less likely to be adequately insured (low income students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, minority students, etc.)”

This is the type of A-level virtue signaling that I expect from students who think they’re heroes for looking out for the unprivileged. I certainly understand why someone who is “low income” might struggle with insurance, but why do these students think black and Latino students can’t afford insurance? They separate out low income students and minority students, and they end up suggesting that somehow minority students are incapable of figuring out insurance. That’s racism. It’s ugly, kids. Do better.

“Speaking on behalf of students who struggle to have consistent access to health care, having this is really, really helpful, especially for students who suffer from chronic vulnerability to short-term illness,” ASUW Senate Vice Speaker Bryn Sinclair said according to the Daily.

This is a nice string of words that don’t really mean anything: “suffer from chronic vulnerability to short-term illness.” If you suffer from chronic short-term illnesses, than we should thank professors for forcing you to go see a doctor. You clearly need medical assistance if you’re always getting sick. If this is code for “Johnny likes to fake stomach viruses” then I’m not really sympathetic.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.


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