It is often students who lead anti-institutional rebellions. Maybe it’s because they know that because they’re younger, they’ll inevitably live with the consequences of poor policy longer than anyone else. Or maybe it’s just the rebellious nature of youth, but college students in America have had it with the lockdowns, mandates, surveillance, quarantines, curfews, and control exerted on them. Now they’re fighting back. Douglas Belkin reports in The Wall Street Journal:
Life on college campuses is as close to pre-pandemic normalcy as it has been in 18 months, but as the semester progresses with few interruptions, some students are pushing back, calling the mitigation measures schools have imposed an overreach.
Student complaints include objections to restrictions on their travel on and off campus, increased surveillance and what they consider erosion of civil liberties. Student-led petitions have prompted some schools to drop the use of location-tracking apps and requirements to wear sensors that monitor vital signs.
At the core of their concerns is a fear that universities are constructing a bureaucracy designed to control a generation just coming of age.
“It feels like the school is blackmailing me, they get all this personal information and in exchange I get an education,” said Dan Smith, a graduate student studying labor history at Wayne State University in Detroit. “It’s the growth of the surveillance state.”
When Covid-19 forced colleges and universities to send millions of students home last year, it hampered their ability to teach and cost them billions of dollars in revenue from room and board and athletic events. This year, in an effort to stay open and safe, about 1,000 schools have mandated vaccines, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Outbreaks are far lower than last year and hospitalizations among students are rare. Only a handful of schools have so far reverted to remote learning.
Around three-quarters of students are in favor of vaccine mandates, according to surveys. University faculty are also broadly supportive of them and have protested at schools where vaccines aren’t required.
This fall, what is riling up students are precautions they see as going too far, especially on campuses where vaccination rates are nearly universal.
Protests and petitions have popped up at at least 40 schools pushing back against vaccine and mask mandates. Some are coming from the same groups that complained before the pandemic that their schools are becoming as heavily surveilled as prisons.
At the University of Southern California, 95% of students are vaccinated but they need proof of a weekly negative Covid-19 test to enter campus. Students must leave classrooms to take a sip of water, rather than just sliding their masks down. Security guards circulate in the library and student union reminding students to cover their noses and mouths with their masks, said sophomore Marin Ruiz.
“It just feels like overreach,” Ms. Ruiz said. “You wonder, where is all this medical information going? Can professors see it?”
These college students are old enough to fight for themselves, but parents must push back against the same types of infringements on the liberties of their younger children as well. Parents in California are pushing back against the governor’s vaccine mandate for all children of school age. They recently filled Sacramento with a rally against vaccine mandates.
Action Line: Don’t allow anyone to force you to do something you aren’t 100% sure is the best course of action for you and your family. America is still the “land of the free,” not the “land of the politely doing what you’re told.” If the constant pressure from the media and institutions is breaking your spirit, click here to sign up for my free monthly Survive & Thrive newsletter. I’ll help you stay confident in your decisions to fight for what you believe in.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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