LAFAYETTE — Members of political group Turning Point USA and the Acadiana community gathered together in protest against UL's vaccine mandate at 1 pm on Sunday in Girard Park.
Danielle Lecompte is Vice President and Campus Coordinator for UL's Turning Point chapter. A senior at UL, she told KATC that she disagrees with the university's decision to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine as well as the recently announced vaccination deadline.
"I feel like if I don't get the vaccine, I can't come back to school and I've spent so much time, worked so hard, put so much money toward this, my family has," Lecompte said. "Just for me to be kicked off of campus because I don't want this vaccination? There's not enough research, I don't want it."
Contrarily, a spokesperson for UL told KATC that this is not the case -- the university is only requiring that students have proof of a vaccine or show proof of exemption in order to register for future semesters, as the Coronavirus vaccine is going to be added to the school's vaccination list.
Jonathan Koeppel is a national ambassador for Turning Point USA and spoke at Sunday's rally. He said the vaccine itself is not the issue.
"People here have been vaccinated, and there are people that are vaccinated and unvaccinated that are against forced vaccinations, " Koeppel said. "I mean you're talking about forcing people to do something against their will -- I think that's evil."
One person protesting in the park was local attorney Charles Middleton. He said that college students should know their rights when it comes to mandates like this one and that it differs from school to school.
"In the public (college) students have rights that private college students don't have, and those rights are your constitutional rights of privacy," Middleton said. "Your right of privacy, you have the choice to say 'No, I don't want to take a shot.'"
KATC has already fact-checked statements like this one in a previous story, which can be viewed here.
In summary, Dr. Rick Swanson, PhD, a political science professor at UL, said colleges and universities, as well as employers, have the full legal right to require vaccinations if done so in the name of public safety during a public health crisis -- thereby outweighing an individual's claim of a right.
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