The People’s Parity Project sent a letter to the Senate HELP Committee signaling strong student opposition to corporate immunity.
Washington, DC — The People’s Parity Project (PPP), a nationwide network of law students representing students at 50 schools, submitted the attached letter opposing corporate immunity to the Senate HELP Committee today, in advance of today’s hearing about reopening colleges and universities.
Universities, like many other employers, are lobbying Congress to pass sweeping liability waivers that would make businesses and universities immune from lawsuits if they ignore public health guidelines, flout worker safety laws, and recklessly expose students and workers to the deadly coronavirus. Law students argue that corporate immunity would jeopardize students and campus workers, risk turning universities into COVID-19 hotspots, and potentially force schools to shut down again.
“Corporate immunity would give universities a free pass to recklessly or negligently expose students to the deadly COVID-19 virus — leaving us with no ability to hold universities accountable if students die because their schools failed to adopt basic safety precautions,” said Chiraayu Gosrani, a People’s Parity Project organizer at New York University.
Students also argued that blanket corporate immunity was not necessary to re-open campuses, because existing law merely requires schools to take “reasonable care” not to expose students, workers, and community-members to the virus. “Corporate immunity is therefore protecting unreasonable failures to protect students from the deadly coronavirus, and unreasonable failures only,” the letter explains.
Students emphasized that the campus workers at many of their schools are predominantly Black, Latinx, and immigrant workers — who would be at extreme risk if schools had blanket immunity for failing to take basic safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is already killing Black workers at staggering rates, in part because employers are forcing Black workers to come in to work at meatpacking plants where they can’t socially distance, or Amazon warehouses that the company refuses to sanitize to keep workers safe. As people around the country are rising up to affirm that Black Lives Matter, we cannot give corporations, including our universities, blanket immunity to jeopardize the safety of Black workers,” said Sejal Singh, the National Policy Director of the People’s Parity Project.
LOCKED_ Letter to Senate HELP Committee (1)