Vaccine Protest Outside Piedmont University

Matthew Kodrowski, Opinions Editor

Protesters organize outside of the Undergraduate Admissions building to voice concerns over Piedmont’s vaccine mandate for employees. PHOTO//SARAH BITNER

Earlier this week, a group of about 10 people stood outside the Undergraduate Admissions building of Piedmont University protesting Piedmont’s recent mandate for the employees – both faculty, staff and student workers – to be vaccinated. They came to peacefully vocalize their concerns in hopes that the institution would listen.

“[Our hope] is to make noise, to make people open their eyes and really question what is going on here,” one of the protesters, Amanda Noah, said. “We hope to wake people up because we need medical freedom.”

Protesters held signs, played shakers and drums, waved American flags, and even dressed up to get the attention of drivers and people passing by. Some of the signs read, “Honk for freedom,” “I call my own shots,” and “Freedom 2 choose.” 

Most of the people involved in the protest were regular members of Demorest, many of them said they were veterans as well. Piedmont alumni, Harley Palmer, voiced her concerns of the vaccine not being a personal choice.

 “It disheartens me to know that they’re forcing my friends and the employees who still work for Piedmont to receive a potentially harmful injection,” said Palmer. “It’s unfortunate that they’re trying to take away their medical freedom. I think everybody should have the choice [as to whether they wish to be vaccinated or not]. Receive the injection if you want to, but your workplace should not be forcing you to do something that may not be good for you if you believe it’s not okay.”

“The government is funding places like Piedmont for the faculty and staff to be medically forced to take the shot or they lose their job and livelihood,” Amanda Noah said. “Where is the freedom in that?”

Piedmont had no comment regarding the vaccine protest. However, they did announce later at a pre-planned faculty/staff forum that the mandate enforcement would be delayed indefinitely. President Mellichamp said in tandem with the announcement, “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit earlier this week issued a temporary halt to implementation of the mandate. Piedmont University will, therefore, not be implementing the mandate until the matter has been settled in the courts.”

Prior to the release of that statement, the protesters anticipated a significantly larger number of people to join their movement Sunday, November 28th.