An attorney for a Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) nursing student said law enforcement officers on Thursday morning removed her client from class because she has not taken the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nashville-based attorney Russell Newman spoke to The Tennessee Star on Thursday evening about his client, Avery Garfield.
“Avery went to school. She has not taken the COVID vaccine. When she arrived at her class this morning, two police officers were waiting for her. She suspected that they were there for her. She went over to the police officers and asked if they were here for her. They asked if her name was Avery Garfield? She said yes it is and showed her credentials,” Newman said.
“The woman officers went to get the instructor. They had a meeting behind closed doors. She was told she would be removed from the building and not allowed to attend her class. She was removed from the building and escorted out by the two police officers.”
Newman said he believes MTSU officials will not allow Garfield to attend anything on campus. Campus officials also will not allow her to attend her clinical, which is part of her nursing program.
MTSU officials’ account of what happened differs from Newman’s.
“After the conversation with the faculty member on the day in question, the student left the meeting acknowledging that she understood she could not attend class and left the building without incident. University police officers were on site at the request of faculty but did not at any time detain or touch the student,” MTSU spokesman Jimmy Hart told The Star in an email.
“The officers left the building at the same time as the student, but it was not to escort or remove her from the building. She left freely and of her own accord.”
The Williamson County-based Tennessee Stands said in a column last month that MTSU nursing students must take the COVID-19 vaccine, with no exceptions.
According to MTSU’s website, other unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff must not come to campus if they meet the following criteria:
• Are in isolation due to COVID-19
• Experience COVID-19 symptoms
• Are awaiting test results for symptoms
• Suspect they have had close contact with a COVID-positive person
Newman said Garfield has her reasons for not wanting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“She is unsure [about it],” Newman said.
“She is seeing a lot of the deaths and injuries and just wants some time to let it go through the clinical trials.”
Newman said he was already representing Garfield in a lawsuit against MTSU regarding the vaccine mandate.
“Today I filed my seventh emergency motion in the case, and it is a second application for a temporary restraining order in the Middle District of Tennessee in the federal court,” Newman said.
“The court denied the first application for a temporary restraining order stating that we could not prove irreparable harm so we corrected that, and we filed a second TRO which is an emergency motion with the federal court this afternoon. It goes straight to the top of the court’s docket. Sometimes we get answers in hours. Sometimes within 24 hours.”
– – –
Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Avery Garfield” by Avery Garfield. Background Photo “Middle Tennessee State University Campus” by Dailynetworks. CC BY-SA 3.0.