(The Center Square) – A youth liberty organization, with a chapter in Illinois, is celebrating the end of what they call “COVID-19 tyranny” on campus.
Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) fought pandemic mandates on dozens of college campuses around the country, including at the University of Illinois and other state schools, stressing they were not anti-vaccine, but rather anti-vaccine mandate at taxpayer-funded academic institutions.
The movement was born at Rutgers University, the first school to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their students. In particular, one student was locked out of his school email and other accounts because he was unvaccinated, despite taking only virtual classes at home miles away from campus.
“Everyone told us that college students wanted these mandates, college students wanted to feel safe, and talking to college students they just wanted to go back to their normal lives,” said J.P. Kirby, YAL director of student rights.
In 2021, YAL promoted a petition to “end the endless pandemic,” rallying students to speak out against what they called government overreach during the COVID-19 era.
YAL notes members of their Hazlitt Coalition, a network of more than 170 legislators from nearly 40 states, have filed 25 bills defending citizen’s rights against COVID-related infringements.
The group recently announced that its Facebook page surpassed 1 million followers.
In Illinois, all higher education students, faculty and staff are required to get tested weekly if they don’t get vaccinated. Illinois State University, for example, adopted the vaccine requirement shortly before Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued the statewide requirement for nearly all educators in August 2021.
Vaccination requirements at Illinois colleges have been relaxing. At the University of Illinois, proof of vaccination is no longer required to attend U of I athletic events.
“As we see campus bureaucrats and state officials finally defend students’ freedom because it’s become politically expedient, YAL wants to make sure that we give praise to our college activists, who have fought medical tyranny on campus since day one,” Kirby said.