Planned protests today over vaccine mandates at Va. Tech, Colorado

A Young Americans for Liberty leader says 'rights are being stripped away by an administration with no regard for privacy' at Virginia Tech.

Hundreds of individuals are scheduled to protest this morning against COVID-19 vaccine mandates on at least two campuses—the University of Colorado at Boulder and Virginia Tech University—according to the national activist organization Young Americans for Liberty.

A release from YAL said the protests are a “nationwide effort to promote individual liberty and push back against government mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Officials are planning to forge further demonstrations at other institutions.

The YAL said it has gotten almost 500 signatures to an online petition it created in response to Virginia Tech’s mandate from President Tim Sands, which called for the university’s requirement on June 8. Sands told the Virginia Tech community at the time that it made the decision based on Centers for Disease Control guidance and its own experiences this past year, saying that a return to a “full experience” in the fall would only be achieved by a vaccine mandate.

But the YAL said the mandate infringes on a student’s rights to “personal and private decisions” made by them, their families and physicians. “The same regulations at Virginia Tech are affecting the lives of millions of students across the country,” said Ryan Jacoby, YAL’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. “Their rights are being stripped away by an administration with no regard for privacy, and I’m glad YAL chapters like this one are standing up to this tyranny.”

Ian Escalante, YAL’s South Regional Director, added, “It is time for us to set the government school system straight and let them know that they will not be controlling our students.”

Junior Zoe Missner has been proactive in helping lead the anti-vaccine effort on the Boulder campus. A similar signature strategy is in the works there, and YAL leaders have promised to deliver those to university leaders “once enough signatures have been collected.”

Colorado’s Board of Regents last week denied a resolution by one of its members, Chance Hill, who opposed the mandate because of the vaccine’s emergency-use authorization status. So the University of Colorado, which was an early adopter of the vaccine mandate back in late April, is forging ahead with the requirement, which also includes staff and faculty. “The University of Colorado’s decision to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory took away the freedom of choice we students are entitled to have,” Missner said. “Now, the students are demanding to have that choice back.”

The YAL protests kicked off in May with approximately 300 people demonstrating at Rutgers University.

More than 500 colleges and universities have issued COVID-19 preventive requirements for students. There are thousands of institutions that haven’t taken that step, either out of reluctance to issue mandates because of the EUA status, because their states have issued orders preventing vaccine passports or because they believe students will get vaccinated. Institutions imposing mandates are offering medical and religious exemptions, and some have offered students the opportunity to apply for a personal exemption.

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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