Colorado School of Mines reverses vaccine mandate following student activism

The Colorado School of Mines reversed its vaccine mandate late last month.

The decision followed advocacy from students who opposed the mandate.

Young Americans for Liberty scored a victory at the Colorado School of Mines by forcing the administration to walk back its vaccine mandate.

“[YAL] aims at making campuses more free, so the whole idea of requiring a vaccine is kind of the opposite of our goal as a club,” chapter President Elijah Sage told Campus Reform. “We believe in student freedom and freedom of choice when it comes to your medical decisions.”

Sage told Campus Reform the chapter began collecting petition signatures in August to rally against the vaccine mandate, which was enacted June 2021 for students, staff, and faculty.

The petition garnered 500 signatures in 42 days, Sage recounted. 

Lucas Baumgartner, YAL State Chair, told Campus Reform he was “enthusiastic” when the mandate was reversed.

“I wasn’t surprised, however, since I was confident with the huge amount of effort we put into it,” he said.

President Paul Johnson took the students’ request to the President’s Senior Leadership Team on Oct. 25, during which the vaccine mandate was lifted for incoming students.

Braelin Pantel, CSM Vice President of Student Life, confirmed to the chapter that the mandate was lifted in an Oct. 28 email obtained by Campus Reform.

We are working on taking down the vaccine reporting information and aim to have everything fully updated (i.e. websites) by the start of the new semester,” Pantel wrote. 

[RELATED: University mandates vaccine for students but not staff]

She continued, sharing that she “so appreciate[s] your advocacy on behalf of students.”

JP Kirby, YAL Director of Student Rights, told Campus Reform that he is proud of the chapter’s activism.

“It’s been over two years since the Covid hysteria started and just because things seem to be ‘dying down,’ just because things seem to be getting back to normal doesn’t mean we don’t have the responsibility to fight against a lot of these policies that are still in place,” he stated.

Kirby told Campus Reform that the Golden, CO victory is the second vaccine reversal YAL has accomplished on campus, and cited that a similar petition caused Sacred Heart University in Connecticut to reverse its policy.

“If students have policies on campus that they want to fight, the biggest thing that they can do is start growing a movement and reaching out to other students on their campus to grow a community, and grow a movement on campus that either supports or opposes the same thing,” he said.

[RELATED: REPORT: Community college changes course to comply with state’s vaccine mandate]

He pointed to YAL’s Student Rights Campaign, which is how students can “fight back against tyrannical policies on campuses that limit students’ natural rights and show clear abuse of administrative power.”

In September, Campus Reform reported a student on rollerblades stole the CSM chapter’s large beach ball which advocated for medical freedom. Students were invited to write on the ball to support the vaccine mandate reversal as the group collected petitions. 

But while CSM doubles back on its vaccine mandate, other colleges are imposing additional Covid-19 restrictions. 

Harvard University announced it would bar students from registering for the Spring 2023 semester unless they submitted proof of being “fully vaccinated,” including boosters.

Yale University and Fordham University are also imposing a booster mandate for students.

Campus Reform contacted the university and members of the leadership team for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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