The North Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees voted to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees and students returning to campus. The vote took place on Aug. 24.

According to the motion, “All employees and students who come on campus are fully vaccinated with allowance for religious or medical exemptions as defined by law.” The mandate to be fully vaccinated to attend in-person courses will take effect on Nov. 1, allotting time to become fully immunized before the deadline.

The Board of Trustees listening to Bent on his concern over the vaccine mandate.

The Board of Trustees listening to Bent on his concern over the vaccine mandate. Photo credit: Ryan Davis

The vote occurred near the two-and-a-half-hour mark of the meeting, voting in favor of mandating vaccines.

It was not the only topic on the agenda for the night but was the only topic extensively commented on by the public. NOCCCD employees, students, and concerned community members submitted 74 public comments to the Board regarding the vote. The Board listened to every comment submitted; most of the comments sent in were against the vaccine mandate.

Many of those against the mandates echoed the same points regarding concerns on individual freedoms, fear of experimental vaccines, and skepticism on the deadliness of COVID-19.

Those who agreed with mandates made arguments about social responsibility and in their words, “common sense” rules.

Some Board members disagreed with comments sent in by the public showing visible signs of disagreement. They shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and mouthed clear words of dissent with what anti-mandate commenters said.

Trustee Ryan Bent voicing his concerns over the vaccine mandate.

Trustee Ryan Bent voicing his concerns over the vaccine mandate. Photo credit: Ryan Davis

“… I truly believe this is a decision between tyranny and liberty, and I think people should have the liberty to be able to say what they put in their body.” Trustee Ryan Bent said.

Bent also expressed concern with how the mandate could affect the remainder of the semester, suggesting that it should be put off until the spring semester if there were to be a mandate.

Board President Barbara Dunsheath expressed her support for the mandate just before she voted, citing the Orange County Public Health website. “… basically, what they’re saying is that the vaccines do work, that they are safe, that people should be vaccinated.”

The vote passed almost unanimously to implement the mandate; only trustee Bent voted no.

For more information on COVID-19 updates at Fullerton College, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information site.

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Ryan Davis (He/Him) is a journalism major from La Habra, Ca. He likes to cook, write, and workout in his free time.