The University of Mississippi, led by Chancellor Glenn Boyce, instituted a controversial
mask mandate earlier this month after promising a return to normalcy for Ole Miss students. The
City of Oxford followed suit on Aug. 25. On the surface, these mandates can be
perceived as caring for those unlucky few who contract COVID-19 and may ultimately be
hospitalized or die from the disease. While, in theory, the mandate sounds great, this move does have one massive unintended consequence: it involves the government.
This mandate allows the government to take away a citizen’s personal choice to protect themselves.
Regardless of how one feels towards masks or vaccines, both are readily available. We now know that even if you are fully vaccinated, you can still contract and spread the virus. Despite this, the odds of being hospitalized are dramatically reduced. If one has taken the vaccine, the odds of beating the virus are greater than 99 percent. With the vaccine ready, why are we forced to protect those who do not want the vaccine?
The government and the university should not be stepping in to attempt to protect those who do not wish to protect themselves. If someone is vaccinated, that’s great. If someone is not, that decision should not impact those who are. It is time for the pandemic-era governmental handholding to end.
Vaccinated or unvaccinated, the odds of surviving COVID-19, for the majority of individuals on our campus, are greater than 99 percent. People have options and should be able to do what they see fit to protect themselves. To conclude, two quotes, from presidents of both parties, need to be remembered during these times. President Clinton said, “The era of big government is over,” and President Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
Ryan Anderson is a junior majoring in political science from Jacksonville, Florida.