Are Jackects really protecting Jackets?

A “Jackets Protect Jackets” sign stands outside the entrance to the Smithgall Student Services Building. // Photo by Taylor Gray, Student Publications

Since rolling out the Jackets Protect Jackets program this past week, the administration has taken decent strides towards making campus a safer place for all in the midst of the pandemic. 

The three main components of the plan are distributing safety kits, creating an ambassador program and implementing Jackets Protect Jackets week. 

At first glance, it seems as though this initiative was created as a shallow PR attempt to get students of the administration’s back or to ameliorate the fact that students are paying nearly the same amount for majority online classes. Fortunately, Tech has followed through with many of the student’s initial demands for a safer environment. 

For the most part, this first week of classes has gone smoother than most imagined it would. The majority of professors have been more than accommodating and offered even courses labeled as hybrid and residential almost entirely as an online class. 

Although, this week has gone by fairly seamlessly from an academic standpoint, socially is another story. Even though testing is not mandatory, it is readily available for both symptomatic and asymptomatic students and staff. 

Getting tested on the first week of school was also incentivized with gift card giveaways to various fast food restaurants. Incentivizing the testing was the next best thing to making it mandatory. The simple action of students providing a saliva sample is key to stopping the spread from asymptomatic students. 

At the end of the summer and beginning of Fall semester, various Greek life and other student organizations offered virtual welcome events for incoming freshmen and all other interested students. Many organizations went above and beyond to provide engaging events to take 


While most students are abiding by social distancing and mask covering guidelines, there have been a few bad actors within certain branches of Greek life. Just this past week, UNC-Chapel Hill was forced online because of COVID-19 clusters popping up in their on-campus and Greek housing. 

We should view this instance as a cautionary tale and take steps to prevent the same thing from happening on our campus. Whether it is renting out a bar or having jam-packed parties in off-campus apartments, they are both reckless and thoughtless. 

It is this small percentage of the student body that will mess it up for everyone. There are many students that feel invincible and maybe they are, but what about that person that sits next to you in class and commutes home to their immunocompromised loved ones?

If these students have no respect for themselves, then they should at least think ahead to things they do care about, like graduation, going to concerts or safely hugging a grandparent. The sooner these students realize that it is not all about them and the right now, the sooner we will get to go back to normal. 

As the Technique editorial staff, we call upon the administration to set stricter regulations for organizations that are blatantly disregarding social distancing and face-covering guidelines.

At the end of the day, students can beg and plead with the administration all we want to see a change, but it is impossible to ignore the fact that they can only do so much. We must hold each other accountable and stand up against those that have an attitude of indifference for other’s safety. We have to take it upon ourselves to stop another outbreak from happening. By following the recommendations of the Jackets Protect Jackets program, we can avoid being forced off campus again.