Document Type


Publication Date



During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions worldwide experienced significant disruptions to in-person learning. Following a period of online learning, Canadian universities initiated a cautious return to campus, accompanied by new rules and regulations intended to keep campus communities safe. Common among many institutions was the implementation of mask and vaccine mandates, which generated significant discussion on social media platforms. Such strong responses to these regulations create an opportunity for academic investigation, as researchers can use this real-life experience to discern whether the public experiences emergency safety mandates as beneficial or disruptive to their lives. This paper takes the form of a content analysis of comments from a prominent Ontario university’s official Facebook posts. It seeks to investigate the primary response of social media users to the implementation of mandates and whether sentiments remain constant among users of different relations to the university. Significant findings include the overwhelming presence of negative opinions towards the mandates and the lack of comments from current students of the institution under study. The analysis also revealed that users opposed to the mandates are likelier to post detailed comments backed up with outsourced information or strong emotional language. In contrast, positive posts were overwhelmingly short and lacked evidence of actionable intention to defend their viewpoint. These findings suggest that while those contributing positive comments may do so to signal their support or as a means of social interaction, social media users posting negative comments are more actively seeking change through their online interaction with the institution.