Stony Brook Anti-Vaccine Mandate Protests


Serena Carpino, Staff Writer

On September 12, 2021, 150 people gathered at Stony Brook University in protest of the university’s vaccine and mask mandates.

Gathered in front of the administration building, the protest was led by the Stony Brook Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a chapter of the national conservative organization, and many attendees were family members and non-students. They shouted, held flags, and carried signs that read “My Body, My Choice,” as well as “Forced COVID Vaccines = Nazi Germany.” Most members of the protest were unmasked, and proof of negative COVID-19 test results was not required, making the protest a potential super spreader event.

Though the crowd expressed great distrust towards the vaccine, several inconsistencies were present within their overall message. For example, some parents proudly held up anti-vaccine and anti-mask signs, but made sure that their children wore masks. Also, certain members showed more anger towards the government than distrust towards the vaccine, as they continued to say, “We are not anti-vax, we are anti-mandate.”

In the month before the September protest, another protest was held in front of Stony Brook Hospital. About 300 people attended this gathering, including many healthcare workers. Donna Alipert, a healthcare worker, said, “Nobody is saying COVID isn’t real. Nobody’s here saying someone shouldn’t get vaccinated if they want to. We are for choice.” Upon hearing about the involvement of healthcare workers, a local professor said, “It is strange that people involved in a life-saving profession would be against a life-saving medication.” These comments reflect the ongoing debate throughout the country regarding the government’s attempt to halt the spread of COVID.