Flames of the Torch: On the University Vaccine Mandate and recognizing campus communities

As the 99th editorial board begins to settle in, the Spring 2021 semester is coming to a close. With just a few weeks left in the semester, students are wrapping up Fall 2021 registration. We were excited to hear the news just a few days ago that St. John’s would be offering students the opportunity to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine beginning next week. This is a great opportunity and a huge step in the right direction for the return of normalcy on campus. However, the President’s announcement today, April 21, definitely took students by surprise. 

Students will only be allowed back onto campus come this fall if they are fully vaccinated. Since student course registration began over a week ago, students may have registered for in-person or hybrid courses without this knowledge. The timing is interesting since students who may not personally want to receive a vaccine just yet, have likely already made plans to return to campus in the fall. We will have to wait and see if the University makes any changes to this vaccine mandate come Fall 2021.

While COVID-19 has, as usual, dominated the headlines, an issue that has been rising to prominence the past month is the fight against Asian hate. There was an array of shootings in Atlanta spas that left six Asian women dead and spiked fear in the Asian-American community. The suspect of these shootings, Robert Aaron Long, went on this tear on March 16, killing eight people while most obviously targeting the Asian-American community. The police were told that he was motivated by a “sexual addiction;” Staff Writer Kihana Schicatano describes this as a cover for the fact that it was a hate crime. Americans day in and day out fail to realize the obvious and consistent crimes committed against Asian-Americans. It is our job to bring more awareness to this issue and stop Asian hate. 

As April continues on, it is important to remember that it is Autism Acceptance Month. Contributing Writer Tomas B. Dominguez reminds us all that what we see in the media does not encompass all the characteristics of those on the autism spectrum. People cannot use the movie “Rain Man” as their only source for learning about the community, making steps to educate themselves on autism.