Speakers questioned University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 protocols at an event entitled “Candid COVID Conversations” in the Nebraska East Union hosted by UNL’s chapter of Turning Point USA.
Over 300 people attended the event, according to William Beck, UNL TPUSA president and a senior political science major, which he said was intended to discuss different perspectives surrounding the response to COVID-19.
“There’s an appetite on campus for the narrative that’s not being shared with people,” he said, “the narrative that is being censored on social media.”
Dr. Peter McCullough, listed in the program as an internist and cardiologist in Dallas, said early treatment is most important in combating COVID-19, rather than vaccines or masks.
“Masks and vaccines are not treatment,” he said, even though both have had a considerable amount of media attention.
McCullough also said some deaths currently being listed as COVID-19 deaths are actually due to the vaccines, which he said can cause myocarditis, hypertension and other ailments.
But McCullough cast doubt upon the FDA’s process and said that “without more protection from our pharmaceutical laws, we’re going to have more harm.”
McCullough was fired and has been sued by Baylor University, his former employer, for spreading misinformation related to COVID-19.
During his presentation, McCullough asked those in the room to raise their hand if they had contracted COVID-19 in the past. More than half of the audience raised their hands.
Only a small percentage of the audience at the event were masked, including both those seated in chairs and those standing in the back of the room.
Beck said masks were removed at the event because snacks were provided, but individuals were unmasked and not eating in the back of the room and were unmasked in the check-in line as they entered the building.
As a recognized student organization, Turning Point had to file for an event of its size with the stipulation they would follow university protocols for an event of that size, according to university spokesperson Deb Fiddelke.
“If an RSO is found in violation, they will be referred to Student Conduct & Community Standards. Appropriate sanctioning will result,” the university’s protocol reads. “Failure to comply with these guidelines could result in suspension of activity or future activities, or additional sanctions, as determined appropriate.”
Ryan Lahne, director of the Nebraska Unions, said the unions and its staffs work closely with event planners to ensure adherence to university protocols.
“With very few exceptions, the event planners we have worked with throughout our collective response to hosting events during COVID-19 restrictions have partnered with us to ensure the policies and procedures are followed,” he said in an email.
Lahne also cited the food and drink exception when responding to questions from The Daily Nebraskan.
The majority of those in attendance were considerably older than the majority of UNL college students, which Beck said he thought was due to the afternoon start time. Beck said the time was chosen to accommodate the schedules of the panelists.
Stephen Petty, a forensic engineer who said he testified before the Kentucky Legislature before the state’s mask mandate was removed, claimed that masks are ineffective for a variety of reasons, including leakage of air around the edges of the mask. He also said masks can be unsafe and lead to a variety of ailments.
According to the CDC, masks are safe and effective.
Martin Cannon, an Omaha lawyer and member of the Thomas More Society, telling the crowd about how to get a religious exemption for vaccine mandates by employers. The law, he said, only requires a deeply held religious belief.
“You have to be willing to fall on your sword,” Cannon said. “If our adversaries today, whether it’s the leftists in our nation, or Russia, or China, I’m looking at this vaccine thing and thinking, ‘This is low-hanging fruit.’”
The three speakers then held a question-and-answer session with moderator Kathleen Kauth, who spoke at the University of Nebraska Board of Regents meeting last week against the Safer Community app. All three speakers opposed the app’s use, and McCullough claimed it was useless.
NU Regent and gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen attended the event and tweeted about it afterward with support for the event.
“Thank you to the speakers at the Candid Covid Conversations and the @ThomasMoreSoc for standing up and speaking to the importance of opposing mask and vaccine mandates,” Pillen said in the tweet. “As your governor, I will stand against mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and vaccine passports.”