October 10, 2021
Kirstyn Katherine Ahuero, a 20-year-old Texas A&M student from Fort Worth, died on Sept. 8 from complications related to Covid-19.
A few days later, about 50 A&M students gathered on campus to read her obituary out loud: she studied biomedical science, volunteered for the National Suicide Hotline, aspired to be a psychiatric nurse and left behind parents, siblings, grandparents and great grandparents. Then, students rallied for stricter protections against Covid-19 on a campus where vaccines are optional and students rarely wear masks in classes, according to three students involved with the protests.
Their protest is one of many taking place on campuses across the country as the political fault line over Covid protocols that has cleaved red and blue states extends to colleges and universities, with some enacting strict virus protections more in line with CDC guidance — and others remaining lax. Thousands of students and educators are pleading with college, state and federal leaders for tighter Covid-19 safety measures in response to campus deaths, widespread outbreaks and growing fears of both.