West Point cadets COVID vax religious exemptions denied en masse, given a day to respond

"Feels like another attempt to isolate and pressure cadets into getting the vaccine over a weekend where they will be limited in their ability to consult with attorneys or medical professionals," said attorney R. Davis Younts.
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West Point graduation ceremony
West Point graduation ceremony
(Stephen Chernin / Getty Images)

West Point Military Academy cadets were denied their Religious Accommodation Request appeals to the military's COVID-19 vaccine mandate en masse on Wednesday but were not informed until Friday afternoon, when they were given 24 hours to respond, according to attorney R. Davis Younts. 

A Developmental Counseling Form that was given to a cadet notes that the religious objector's RAR appeal was denied on Wednesday and the date that cadet received counseling regarding the vaccine mandate was Friday. The form says that the objector has until 4 p.m. on Saturday to make a plan to receive the vaccine. 

"Failure to obey this order may result in punitive or adverse administrative action," the form warns. 

Continued refusal of the vaccine may result in "your separation from the service" states the form, explaining that involuntary separation could result in an Honorable discharge, a General Under Honorable Conditions discharge, or an Other than Honorable discharge. If you receive either of the last two, "you may be ineligible for many, if not all, veterans benefits, and you may face difficulty in obtaining civilian employment as employers may have a low regard for less than Honorable discharges," the cadet is notified.

"I am deeply troubled that they would hold these documents for two days and serve them on a Friday afternoon," Younts said. "Feels like another attempt to isolate and pressure cadets into getting the vaccine over a weekend where they will be limited in their ability to consult with attorneys or medical professionals."

West Point Military Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.