By Hannah Lester
Auburn students, faculty and residents are mad. And they’re asking for change.
Protestors gathered Tuesday afternoon to peacefully fight against Auburn’s vaccine mandate which will require employees to receive a vaccine by Dec. 8 or lose their jobs.
“Let me ask you a question,” one protestor yelled. “What are you a fan of more? … Are you a fan of Auburn or freedom?”
The resounding cry was freedom.
“You’ve got friends, family, everybody employed here so it’s sorta affects everybody,” said Melisa Montgomery, Auburn resident. “It’s hitting home … I’ve got tons of friends and family employed by the university and it’s just not right. Everybody has the right to make decisions for themselves. I mean, that’s in our constitution. Nobody has a right to force anything upon us. This is an overreach, this is a government overreach.”
Protestors had bullhorns, signs that read “I used to believe in Auburn…,” “Tyranny never wins!” and “Remember Our Body Our Choice” and cheered as trucks and cars honked while passing.
“We’re peaceful, we’re not starting anything,” Montgomery said. “We just, we all, every single person in this country has the right to stand up for what’s right for them and our constitution and that’s being trampled on every single day by the administration and we’re trying to show people that you may think that you’re the only person, but you’re not. There’s so many more people that are just like you who think the same that are just waiting for you to be the first on the dance floor.”
Dean Odle, candidate for the governor of Alabama, attended the protest and spoke in support of the crowd.
Odle is also a local pastor at Fire and Grace Church, raised in Opelika.
“This is great to see,” he said. “People are rising up, really all over the state. I’m getting calls from people all over the state that are losing their jobs or about to because of this mandate because they don’t want to take this vaccine. And either they’re healthy, younger people or they have already had COVID, they have natural antibodies. I mean, there’s a lot of reasons. And there’s also some legitimate concerns, there’s more adverse effects in this vaccine that’s being reported officially.
I just think it’s important that people rise up and stand up for freedom.”
One protestor with a bullhorn asked why Auburn won’t give faculty time regarding the vaccine to see the effects. Adverse affects was a concern of many, along with lack of freedom.
Chants included “Save Our Jobs” and “Let’s Go Brandon”.
“If the mandate was really about safety, why are they requiring people who work remotely from home to get the vaccine as well,” said one protestor. “It makes no sense.”
Many of the protestors were not faculty, but students.
“Students will be next. That’s why I’m here, because I don’t want the vaccine. I’m a student,” said Andrea Tobin, Auburn student. “And I know they’re coming for us next.”