Bearcats react to new CUNY-wide booster shot mandate


CUNY Twitter

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

A COVID-19 booster shot mandate was announced by New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul for all CUNY and SUNY students during a press conference on Dec. 31.

The mandate took effect on Jan. 15, affecting who can and cannot enter their college campus during the spring 2022 semester. There have been mixed reactions from Baruch College students.

All students eligible to get a COVID-19 booster shot, meaning it’s been five months since their full vaccination, are required to get their booster shot to enter a CUNY campus this semester. Any student who is eligible for the booster but who did not receive one yet is not allowed on campus unless they have either a medical or religious exemption.

Since all students’ original vaccination data is on CUNYfirst, the system is able to tell when a student should have their booster shot.

For students who received Moderna or Pfizer for their original shots, the booster will be their third; for students who got the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, the booster will be their second.

The Ticker asked Baruch students what their thoughts on the recent mandate are through a Google Form survey that was shared on Facebook. Eight students responded.

Based on the survey’s results, a majority of students seem to disagree with the state’s mandate, saying that it goes way too far and violates students’ rights.

This is the opinion of senior management major Yaseen Rana, who said he feels the mandate is definitely too far and leaves students with no choice in this personal matter.

“I definitely don’t agree with it,” Rana wrote in the Google Form. “This should have been a choice from the beginning, and although we haven’t been exactly ‘forced’ to comply, we’re left with an ultimatum that to many is between struggling to survive versus surrendering to however far the government makes you go. The end result is the same. Comply or you’re borderline outcasted.”

Rana also wondered how many more vaccines students will be required to take before the state finally stops.

“It’s already gone too far,” he said. “How many more boosters are going to be mandated if they’ve already shown their willingness to follow this trend? Hopefully this won’t continue.”

This sentiment is not shared by Rana alone. Junior finance major Josh Carvajal echoed these thoughts, adding that he thinks the mandate should actually be illegal.

“It is illegal, violates our rights,” Carvajal said. “Not agree with it at all. Goes too far. Will try to finish my degree online wasting my senior year.”

One Baruch sophomore who didn’t share their name, major or graduation year agreed and said they feel the booster isn’t even necessary to protect against COVID-19.

“Way too far,” they said. “I’m already vaccinated and at a .0001 chance of COVID death. Leave me alone. I will be voting republican in 2024 to get away from such crazy democrat policies. Enough is enough.”

However, there were some students who agreed with the booster mandate and were happy to comply.

Such is the case for senior computer information systems major Sam Lee, who noted that it’s only one additional shot compared to all of the vaccinations that colleges and universities already require upon acceptance to their schools.

“I agree with the mandate,” Lee said. “Colleges are already requiring vaccinations prior to attending and the booster shot is only an additional one. It has been proven to be effective and safe in reducing the spread of COVID, thereby protecting both the students and the faculty.”

Another senior, marketing analytics major Evan McClane, also said he supports the booster mandate, though he added that he doesn’t think the school should be returning in person at all this semester, booster mandate or not.

“I agree with the booster mandate, though with the spread of omicron even in vaccinated people I think it’s shortsighted to move back to a majority in-person schedule,” McClane said.

There was also one survey respondent, sophomore finance major Daniel Makarenko, who said that he felt neutral about the situation but was leaning toward supporting it.

“I don’t really mind it,” Makarenko said. “I feel like it would help prevent a lot of students from being out sick for a long time since the booster has been proven effective. Overall, I think it’s a good idea.”

While there were some students who told The Ticker that they agree with the mandate, a majority still disagreed, including computer information systems major Jason Mei.

“The new mandate is definitely a little bit too far,” Mei said. “If we’re that worried about safety protocols to the point that we aren’t letting fully vaccinated people attend their classes because they haven’t received a booster shot, then why not just offer/shift to more in-person classes?”

Mei also made the point that COVID-19 regulations have not stayed very consistent, so it’s hard for students to know what to follow.

“Additionally, the CDC is constantly changing their guidelines for better or for worse,” he said. “I remember I was rejected from taking a booster because I haven’t waited exactly 6 months — it was 172 days after I took my second shot — and now they changed it to 5 months to get a booster. There’s just a lot of inconsistencies.”

One last student, freshman Steffany Garces, also said that she does not support the booster mandate, or even the original vaccination mandate.

“I think Kathy Hochul booster mandate was such a late notice for students that are vaccinated and are enrolled in classes for spring 2022,” Garces said. “What if they don’t want the booster? Now they won’t have the option to go online because all the online classes are full because of her late notice.”

Garces, who is currently undeclared, also added that she herself is in this situation.

“It has affected me personally because now I have fewer classes to enroll online because I don’t want to get vaccinated,” she said. “Hence, delays my graduation date. I would love to be on campus and take in person classes and participate in school activities but I’m not willing to comply the vaccine mandates because it violates my freedom of choice and religious beliefs.”