This past Sunday, Stony Brook University (SBU) was the site of an anti-vaccine mandate protest.
Led by Stony Brook University’s chapter of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), the protest was predominantly attended by non-students and their family members. Most, if not all participants were unmasked, none were required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test, and all were proud to hold “My Body, My Choice,” or “Forced COVID Vaccines = Nazi Germany” signs.
The protest was a hotbed of half-truths and emotionally charged statements about vaccination.
One appeal by one of the speakers claimed that “we have to deal with coercion [in regard to vaccination] in the military so you don’t have to,” which went over well with the crowd as it prompted hoots and hollers. Most other speakers made similar comments, equating vaccine mandates to coercion and insinuating that the government was after the freedoms of those present with tyranny on the doorstep.
Sunday’s protest showcased extreme inconsistencies, revealing how disjointed the crowd really was. Despite the fact that the protest was meant to be against mandating the vaccine, there were many signs that showed disdain for the vaccine altogether. While the speakers repeated the phrase “We are not anti-vax, we are anti-mandate,” participants still did not seem to understand the true stated motive of the event, with many supporting other causes.
By having these conflicting ideologies, it becomes increasingly difficult to establish what the protesters’ motives really are. Thus, determining who was actually there to support the stated cause of the demonstration is impossible, especially considering more than 150 people showed up.
In addition to the raging inconsistencies at SBU’s anti-mandate protest, there were a few other shocking events that occurred.
A large number of young children (and at least one infant) were present at the protest. It was truly a devastating sight to see. They waved flags that displayed images and messages that they would not understand for years. Instances like these brainwash young minds into believing in issues with a one-sided mindset, offering little to no exposure to the opposing party.
Additionally, parents paraded around with posters and flags that depicted messages of anti-vaccination, but some also made sure their children were masked up and sanitized. If they truly believed that COVID-19 was nothing to worry about, why would they protect their kids from this supposed “harmless virus?” It was an interesting aspect of the already contradictive anti-mandate protest that left us with a deep-seated feeling of disgust.
Even some members of the student body secretly supported the protesters from the sidelines. Observers made passing comments about how they would like to show their support for the protest but were too scared to be open about their stance on the topic of vaccination.
The decision to come to the Stony Brook campus was a strange choice on the part of the protesters, as protesting on campus will not address their concerns in any way. The university does not have the power to change government legislation in Long Island to revoke the vaccine mandate. Thus, other venues like government buildings would have been more appropriate for this gathering.
Instead of spreading their message for a common cause, they are disrespecting the campus community by voicing their thoughts in a setting that cannot cater to them. In fact, the demonstrators were mostly adults who do not even attend Stony Brook, so it begs the question, why did they choose SBU as the center of their protest?
A counter-protester who managed to cross the barricades even leaped at one of the protesters in the midst of a heated argument. While it is not acceptable to incite violence, it also brings light to the fact that this protest was in a highly politically charged environment in which it did not belong. This event at the protest, among others previously stated, showcases the protest’s failure. While demonstrators claimed they were united as Americans fighting for their freedom, in reality, they were fragmented and ultimately, futile.
Overall, this protest was damaging to the reputation of the university and showcased the reason why allowing events such as this one is a bad idea.
In the future, it is imperative that the University understands that events such as an anti-vaccine mandate protest will draw a crowd extreme in its collective ideology. Going forward, similar events should not be permitted on campus.