An already controversial event is slated to take place on Montana State University’s Billings campus later this month.
The university’s Petro Theater has been leased to Big Sky Liberty Alliance, a private Facebook group against COVID-19 vaccination warrants, especially for healthcare workers.
The group has held several “Rally for Medical Freedom,” anti-vaccination events or protests in the state recently, according to the organization’s Facebook page. A Billings protest took place on Sunday, November 28 at the corner of 24th Street and King Avenue.
The information on the Facebook page says “there are people in this group who are completely against the jab itself, those who are on the fence and those who are against mandatory medical intervention.”
Filter questions for users wanting to join the “BSLA Backup,” which lists the ground rules for the page, include this caveat:
“This group was created as a platform for communication between healthcare workers and other employees who are against the mandate of vaccines. This is NOT a place to discuss the vaccine.
In a social media post, BSLA announced that Dr Bryan Ardis, a well-known anti-vaxxer, will be speaking at the December 13 event in Billings at 7 p.m.
Ardis has appeared in various media including American Faith, a media outlet founded in 2020 by a senior church pastor of influence in Anaheim, Calif., Where he voiced conspiracy theories and advised listeners not to go. in the hospital if they are sick with COVID and to avoid the intensive care unit at all costs.
“Don’t let your family go into the intensive care unit,” Ardis said in the interview.
Ardis holds a DC, Doctor of Chiropractic. He did not attend medical school and is therefore not a doctor.
Chiropractors follow a four-year chiropractic program and all states require a DC to practice.
In a 2008 disciplinary action report from the state of Tennessee, Ardis is listed as not having properly maintained or submitted enough continuing education credits and was assessed penalties of $ 600. His practice is listed as permanently closed.
He currently operates Ardis Labs in Texas and produces an “all natural” acne treatment called “The Ardis Acne System,” which he launched in January 2019, according to the website.
MSUB regularly offers space on campus to entities not affiliated with the university through a rental agreement, said Maureen Brakke, MSUB’s director of communications.
To its knowledge, the university has never refused a lecturer or an organization that enters into the rental agreement.
In an official statement, the institution parted ways with BSLA and the lecturer, saying that “the University cannot decide on the rental of an event space based on the perception of an entity, the appropriateness or the impropriety of his speech or the disapproval of the public. MSU Billings does not sponsor or affiliate with the Big Sky Liberty Alliance event and is generally not affiliated with any external entities that rent out their event space. University funds are not used to support this event or any other non-university event, unless otherwise specified.
Throughout the pandemic, the MSUB campus has followed the advice of public health partners to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among students, faculty and the community. Brakke’s concern is that, since the event takes place on campus, there will be confusion over the institution’s commitment to an evidence-based approach to managing the pandemic.
“MSU Billings has followed a consistent, evidence-based approach to COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic and continues to support the health and safety of its campus and the community as a whole. The University plans to stay the course with current COVID-19 protocols out of prudence, in order to ensure the health and safety of the campus community, ”the statement said.
The statement added that the university recognizes the right to First Amendment expression.
Brakke isn’t sure what to expect, but said there are no plans to tighten up security.