Student Must Take Virus Standards to Another Level

Roy Mathews, Managing Forum Editor

This article is a work of satire.

It’s now the tenth month of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s been a wild year. With everyone stockpiling hand sanitizer and everything from bandanas to World War II gas masks to protect themselves from the virus, particular credit has to go to the student body at Bates. With only two positive cases among the student body and one positive case among employees, Bates is holding steady in combating the coronavirus. Everyone from the staff, professors, and students deserves credit for following the rules and keeping everyone safe. That’s why I think we all should take anti-virus protections to the next level. 

That means not just making sure you’re washing your hands, wearing a mask, and getting your two tests a week, but actively invading your friends, classmates, and even professors private lives to make sure that they are adhering to the rules all the time.

I know that sounds like a lot of unnecessary work, but take a minute to think about what each member of the Bates community can do. Each and every one of us can use our own power, be it as leaders of clubs, student employees, or just friends. For example, this past week, as I had dinner with a friend of mine, I made sure to not only make him wash his hands, but also recount to me his entire week to make sure he had not stepped even a millimeter off campus. As we all know, if you go off campus, you must not care about the Bates community, so I just had to make sure he was as moral as I am. 

After having him recall his movements for the week (yes, even places he thinks are “off limits” to discuss, like the restroom), I ensured that he did not speak directly in my direction to limit the spread of air particles towards my body during our meal. It was a very enjoyable dinner, but it was made even better knowing that my own virtue had been on display the entire time. Imagine if every Bates student did that? We’d be the cleanest and most morally upright campus in the whole world!

Maybe you don’t eat dinner with other people like I sometimes do, so another example is in order. Let’s say your friend decided to go hiking or off campus to visit a friend. You should’ve tried to stop them from doing so, but let’s say they ignored you and went off campus anyway. First, you should be actively shaming them for having a free will using any tool at your disposal: social media stories, DMs, texting, emails, calls both to them and their family back home, and especially in class over Zoom. 

Just this past month I had to tell my significant other that she had to choose, me or Forage. She still hasn’t gotten back to me, but I do hope she’ll forgo her bagels to protect the Bates community. The point is this: we all have the power to hold not just ourselves, but others accountable. If someone you know has gone off campus this year, I would highly recommend giving them an ultimatum: either your friendship or their own free will. After all, we’ve all taken Moral Philosophy at Bates and know that free will is just a social construct of our evil capitalist overlords (overlords being a synonym for Bates).

Maybe you’re put off by these examples, and you think that those methods are a bit extreme. Not to worry, because I have a ready made moral stance that acts as a replacement for an actual argument for you. Here it is: you’re only violating other people’s personal lives because you want to protect the students on campus that are vulnerable to the virus. I’d like to see someone argue against that logic. 

People who want to go to Kim’s or hike or just go for a walk off campus might point to the paperwork we signed to come back on campus that states: “I acknowledge that I have asked for and/or been given any information that I may need to determine the risks associated with returning to the college campus and to make an informed assumption of those risks.” This is a bad argument for two reasons. 

The first is that, as a Bates student, you have an inherent responsibility to patronize others when they don’t accurately parrot your morals. The second is that the Bates administration is fundamentally evil and can’t be trusted, even though everyone showed up to campus for school this year assuming the risks.

As I finish this manifesto along with my fifteenth bag of Doritos, I am in awe of the Bates community and how we have held together so far during this pandemic. We’ve made it through the first month, but winter is coming. So, we must do better. Progress never lets up. Do the work that needs to be done: clean doorknobs, buy a bubble for yourself, never leave your room, and most importantly, make your friends copy you every step of the way. It’s not going to be easy, because some people are too self-obsessed and narcissistic to follow your rules, as many of my friends were. 

Take heart in your role as a virtue peddler on campus, because we all would be lost without people like you and me. I hopefully won’t see you all wandering around campus, because people like me have already begun practicing an even higher form of moral grandstanding in the face of COVID by never leaving my room. You’re welcome Bates!