‘You’ve Got to Fight! For Your Right!’ To… Not Get Covid?


The roaring 2020s? Graphic by Griffen Hamilton.

CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! Hannah Greenberg, junior film production major, hears a frat party across the street, and she’s not happy about it. Nobody seems to know at all that it’s a pandemic world.

It’s party on as usual not a mask insight and people jammed together in tiny spaces. She’s worried about her own health in these tough times, and wonders if Chapman is doing enough to help her fellow students’ health.

Junior Hannah Greenberg. Photo courtesy of Greenberg.

“I think unfortunately there isn’t much Chapman can do, people are gonna find a way to party no matter what,” Greenberg said.

A lot of students around campus have been just following the crowd. According to one junior who would only speak on the condition of anonymity, “This is just life now; we live in the Florida of California so we act accordingly.”

Parties at Chapman are like the motion of the ocean. They will never stop. But when there is a deadly virus and a Delta variant being spread, can Chapman administration or students be doing more?

Junior Daniel Serville takes a break during piano class. Photo courtesy of Serville.

When asked what exactly Chapman is doing to stop or least acknowledge these off-campus parties, Dean of Students Jerry Price said, “As far as off-campus things go… individual house parties and things we have very little control, other than what the police can help us with.”

But he does add that the university encourages students to party outdoors, when possible.

Daniel Serville, a junior piano performance major said, “They should have enforced the fines they talked about early on when no one was vaccinated. Now it’s a lot harder to do that when you’ve already established a pattern of turning a blind eye.”

“Last year we put in place restrictions, they were extensions of the state restrictions but once the state lifted those we lifted them as well,” Price said.

Junior Jordan Cassell wears a mask at an indoor gathering. Photo courtesy of Cassell.

Jordan Cassell, junior screen acting major, had this to say: “I’m worried about immune-deficient people compared to the non-vaccinated because it’s a risk rather than a choice.”

But some students tend to think more about their own needs, than those who they are affecting. They want to go back to “normal,” and live their lives.

According to one sophomore who would also only speak on the condition of anonymity, “We are young and only live once. We need to be normal.”

When asked about the vaccination percentage, Price said, “A little more than half of the seven percent not vaccinated (at Chapman) are for personal reasons.”

Loyola Marymount University, a nearby private university with similar standards to Chapman’s, had an interesting Covid vaccination policy. The COVID-19 policy website read that “LMU requires that all students that enter our campuses be vaccinated against COVID-19, beginning in fall 2021.”

Chapman University in contrast states, “All faculty, staff, and students must submit proof of vaccination or submit a personal declination request to access campus facilities.”

It appears Chapman’s declination form is just a prewritten contract, with no personal information other than a box to check one of three categories: “Medical, Religious, Personal.”

However, Loyola Marymount University requires a “signature from the student’s current medical provider and will be reviewed by LMU health care professionals. Religious exemption forms require a statement from the student and will be reviewed by a university team chaired by the Dean of Students.”

Price explained why Chapman’s vaccination attitude is more lenient:

Dean Jerry Price. Photo courtesy of Price.

“It was a decision that the university leadership made. Once we made the decision to provide for a personal exemption it made no sense to require proof for the other two. I’ll be honest, I was not interested in vetting people’s religious beliefs. It seemed very arbitrary.”

It may have seemed arbitrary, but when presented with this information, students spoke up.

Cassell said, “I think Chapman’s handling of the whole vaccination scenario has been very backward.”

“It feels like Chapman is sitting back while their students who they claim to care about are getting sick,” Greenberg said.

Serville said, “I don’t feel super comfortable with where things are headed.”

Chapman University vaccination statistics. Screenshot captured from Chapman’s COVID dashboard.

Price brought up how the administration is really responding to the parties.

“We are focusing more on taking the precautions and less on the size of the event,” he said, adding, “any group (particularly fraternities and sororities), if they are having an off-campus indoors event, we (Chapman) will pay for them to get tested before the event. We are encouraging outdoor events as much as possible.”

Right now, 93% of students are vaccinated. For the other 7%, Price said, “I think being in an environment that is highly vaccinated and wearing masks is what we need to do.”

As for the parties, and why these students are throwing them, there wasn’t much to find. When asked for an interview or statement, Chapman Delta Tau Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Tau, Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), Delta Sigma Phi, Beta Theta Pi, and Alpha Epsilon Pi were all contacted. None responded.

No matter what side of the fence you lie on, Greenberg may set the tone, “What a mess.”

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Griffen Hamilton is a junior studying screenwriting and English. When he isn’t cooped up in his room writing jokes, he can be found playing Clue, winning thumb wars, or watching Survivor.