The administration at Trinity University has made it clear that it wants to put temporary safety over the eternal liberty and trust of its faculty, students, and staff. It will charge students the full price of tuition to attend a limited university. Trinity claims to offer one of the highest quality educations in the United States, but it is not allowing students and staff the ability to take full advantage of that high-quality education.
Over these past two weeks, the administration of Trinity University has sent out two emails to all students outlining the new COVID-19 restrictions that will be on campus, despite giving the impression in the Spring Semester that there would not be a return to COVID-19 restrictions in the Fall. These new restrictions include an indoor mask mandate for everyone regardless of vaccination status, a maximum of 4 persons in a residence hall room (with masks), no outside group or visitors to campus, limits on event sizes, and a requirement of Trinity’s version of a COVID-19 green pass to access campus.
Trinity stated that some of these policies would be re-evaluated come mid-September, but that only leaves open the possibility for even stricter regulations.
The problem is not just what Trinity will do but also what Trinity has failed to do. It did not even consider getting feedback from the student body on what COVID-19 measures, if any, should be implemented. I know as a club president that I was never consulted over this past summer on what the university needs to do to make sure their student organizations remain active.
How many student organizations have effectively died because they were unable to meaningfully recruit new members, because they were unable to host events, because they were unable to maintain interest and required membership numbers? My student organization was lucky to have enough members to survive and get through the past year, but I know others cannot say the same.
The university has also not given students any information on how it is expanded its health services–if it has expanded at all. Many students need additional support, especially in the form of counseling, during this time. How many students now suffer from chronic depression and anxiety, and suicidal thoughts because of the university’s draconian lockdown measures over the previous year? How many students lost their scholarships because they were unable to maintain the GPA needed because of their worsening mental health?
Trinity is once again going down the road that will kill its student body’s spirit and sense of community.
Trinity says it is following CDC guidance and “trusting the science,” but how can we fully trust the guidance given when the chief people in charge of it have either undermined the very science they now promote or have flip-flopped on too many issues to keep track of? Trinity needs to trust its students to be mindful of their own health, not health and policy experts that have shown they are willing to lie to the American people.
Trinity University has already reached effective herd immunity, in part due to its strong “recommendations” to students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the American Lung Association, 70-90% of a population needs to have some form of immunity for herd immunity to be reached. Trinity University is currently 91% vaccinated (as of the last update on August 9), and at least 81% of the San Antonio adult population has had at least one dose (as of the last update on August 4). When combined with natural immunity, Trinity University and San Antonio have effective herd immunity or will have it very soon.
I am very thankful for the student body’s work to vaccinate themselves, especially those with risk factors, but we need to recognize when enough is enough. There needs to be mass civil disobedience and non-compliance over these new regulations. If we roll over and allow the university to take these measures freely, it signals that they can continue to make restrictions with impunity. We are a young and healthy student body, and it is time we start acting like it instead of allowing our lives to be dictated by fear.