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CJ Pearson: It’s time for student leaders to fight back against vaccine mandates

Last week, Birmingham Southern-College, a small liberal arts school located in Birmingham, Alabama, announced that all students who refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine would receive a $500 penalty. For exercising their right to medical freedom, their so-called “right to choose,” students are being targeted by college administrators and ostracized on their respective campuses.

If this is happening in ruby-red Alabama, God only knows what lies ahead. Already, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, 578 colleges and universities are requiring their students to be vaccinated prior to their return to campus. Even powerful national organizations, like the American College Health Association, are recommending such mandates.

It’s time not just for parents to stand up to this tyranny; it’s time for students to join the fight as well, most especially student leaders on campus.

At the University of Alabama, I currently serve as a senator in the Student Government Association, representing the Culverhouse College of Business. As we prepare to return to campus in the fall, there has been much speculation about the type of campus we will return to, especially in light of a recent spike in COVID cases due to the newfound Delta variant.

And understandably, there is also a lot of confusion. We were told by the “experts” that the height of the pandemic was behind us. They told us that the vaccine was our saving grace; that masks would soon be a relic of the past.

Few students are eager to return to the days of social isolation, empty football stadiums and mandatory masking that we were forced to endure last year. And frankly, we shouldn’t have to. But now, we are being told, again by the experts, with not the most impressive track record, that the only way to avoid this stark reality is for everyone to get vaccinated, even if it means mandating it.

This is why, upon my return to campus, I intend to introduce a resolution that will express our opposition to any and all mandated COVID-19 vaccinations and any penalties handed down to students who decide against receiving the vaccination.

Now, don’t be confused: I am not anti-vaccine. Most conservatives are not anti-vaccine. We are simply pro-freedom. The choice to get the jab, or not, is that of the individual student. It’s not mine, not the University’s Board of Trustees, or the college president. It is uniquely and solely up to the individual.

What’s more, I’m not even opposed to getting it myself. But I sure as hell will not be forced to vaccinate.

To my fellow students on campuses across America, please know this: you possess more power than you know. And sometimes the fight for freedom is a lonely one but, rest assured, it will always be a righteous one.

Recently, Alabama candidate for U.S. Senate Katie Boyd Britt remarked that “freedom isn’t the problem, freedom is the solution” in response to new guidance released by the CDC calling for new mask mandates.

She couldn’t have been more right.

CJ Pearson is a student at the University of Alabama and president of the Free Thinker Project

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