Editorial: A letter from a member of the “mask police”


by Riley Fletcher, Website Editor

When I arrived on campus for the first time as a CA in August 2020, I had been effectively named a member of the mask police. 

My first weekend as a CA, I had my door propped open. I wanted to make friends and welcome new students. Instead, no one talked to me, and I got to hear people calling me “that bitch” once they thought they were out of earshot of my room.

Some people on this campus believe that CAs are just power-hungry and hell-bent on catching you breaking the rules so we can meet “quotas” that don’t exist. This is entirely inaccurate. At least it is for me and the 60-so other CAs I have worked with over the last two years. 

I did not become a CA to write you up because you can’t follow a rule as simple as wearing a mask. I became a CA to help other students. I became a CA to be there for people when they have no one else. I became a CA because I care about this campus, but it often feels like it doesn’t care about me.

In April 2021, I cried on my rounds as the people who looked through the peephole at me, pretending they weren’t throwing a rager in the middle of a pandemic, talked about me as if I couldn’t hear them. I genuinely believe they thought I couldn’t hear them, but I did and it still hurt. Sometimes it felt like people viewed me as just a CA and not as a human being with emotions. I wanted to quit and that would not be the first time.

Fast forward to January 2022 and Simpson is inviting people back to campus from all around and not requiring them to wear masks. You’re probably confused, thinking we have a mask mandate. Unfortunately, Simpson made the genius decision that the rule didn’t go into effect until the day after everyone moved back in. COVID doesn’t spread on Sundays, I guess.

We all remember the golden days when Simpson removed the mask requirement everywhere besides classrooms. While I was concerned for the health and safety of others, I was finally done being the mask police. I could leave my room without fear of having to encounter a policy violation. 

But I knew as soon as Simpson would bring back the mask mandate, enforcing masks would be even more challenging than before. After one week of being back, I can assure you, it is terrible. I have no energy in me anymore to argue about whether or not masks are effective. It is like talking to a brick wall. 

In my experience, it is the same people not wearing their masks every time. I can beg and plead and write them up all I want, but they will not change. These people decided they do not care about the health and safety of their community. They think because they are young and healthy college students, it does not affect them, so why should they care.

As I watch the number of COVID cases rise each day, I only feel more discouraged. I don’t want to leave my room because I know I will see people walking around without a mask on, as if hospitals aren’t overwhelmed and understaffed. People continue to shrug off the new Omicron variant because it “isn’t that bad,” but over 100,000 people are in U.S. hospitals with COVID. 

Simpson, I am tired. I am tired of students, coaches and administration alike not taking this pandemic seriously. I am tired of being the bad guy. I am tired of begging for a shred of respect, not because I am a CA but because I am a human.