LRCCD students and faculty protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The protest was held on Sept. 30 near the LRCCD offices


Emily Cowan, an American River College language studies major and tennis player protests, among other students, against the Los Rios Community College District COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Sept. 30, 2021. (Photo by Lorraine Barron)

On Sept. 30, members of the Los Rios Community College District community held a protest against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate that the LRCCD put in place Aug. 4. The mandate required students and faculty who access district or college facilities to have had the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1. 

The protest was held at the corner of Howe Avenue and Spanos Court, where the LRCCD offices are located and was organized by Ryan Nix, a health service assistant at American River College. 

“Everybody should be given the option of health choice without coercion from an employer,” Nix said at the protest.

Approximately 40 to 50 people gathered with signs and chanted together against what Los Rios is requiring of its employees and students. There was a car parked near where the protest was taking place that had blank signs that people could take to make one of their own. 

The protest lasted several hours, with cars driving by and honking in support, while others showed their disapproval by yelling out the car window and flipping off the people protesting.

One of the people who showed up to the demonstration is Emily Cowan, an ARC language studies major, who came to protest against the mandate that is preventing her from participating on the tennis team. 

“[I want] the option to take in-person classes and play the sport that I love and not have to have anything injected in my body that I don’t want,” Cowan said.

According to Cowan, she filed the paperwork for an exemption, but it was denied with no explanation as to why. 

Sue Frost, a Sacramento County supervisor, made an appearance at the protest, and read what the Constitutional rights of the people to the group. The people protesting stood in a circle and listened to what Frost had to say. 

I believe if you understand your rights, you can advocate in a lawful, peaceful way. I also was compelled to try to help them,” Frost said in an email to the Current. 

Frost says that she believes that medical decisions shouldn’t be forced, and that is why she attended the protest. 

“Medical freedom is a fundamental human right. When constituents asked me to be at the rally, I felt it was important to stand in solidarity with them to advocate for medical freedom,” Frost said. “I’m not anti-vaccine. I feel everyone should be able to make their own decision about medical treatments and there is not a one size fits all solution.”