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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

Asking ‘why?’

Last fall semester, Texas A&M boasted the enrollment of 68,625 students across its campuses. Every single student, when applying to Texas A&M (or any university in Texas) was required to upload a vaccination record, proving she or he had been vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. For us, it’s just another piece of paperwork; for Mr. Greg Williams, it’s the end result of a legislative push in 2014 to prevent any students from befalling the same tragedy his son, Nicolis.
Nicolis Williams was a junior at Texas A&M, majoring in economics and looking forward to attending law school. His dad writes that he struggled to be accepted in high school (we can all relate to that), but found his niche and grew into himself at A&M. Nic loved being an Aggie, and he loved Aggieland and everything it stands for. Nic was accepted in one of the last rounds of admissions, which meant there was no more space in the dorms on campus. He lived off campus during his entire time at A&M and in the spring semester of his junior year, Nic contracted bacterial meningitis. The bacterial form of meningitis is severe, and the effects can be sudden. Nic was taken off of life support four days after being rushed to the hospital.
Williams, Nic’s father, writes about this heartbreak in his book, “Dare to Ask God Why.” As a Christian man, he began praying as soon as he received the phone call that Nic was in the hospital. He prayed for Nic’s recovery with his whole heart, as did Nic’s mom, Arlene, and Nic’s sister, Tiffany. All three called their friends, family, and churches to pray. All of Nic’s Aggie friends prayed over him at the hospital. Dr. Bowen Loftin, then president of the university, even came to visit Nic’s family in the hospital. With this outpour of support and the full force of the Aggie family, Mr. Williams knew in his heart that God would save Nic.
When Nic died, the only question any parent would ask is “why?”
“Dare to Ask God Why” is the story of this tragedy, and Mr. Williams struggling to understand why God would allow his son to be taken from this world at age 20. It’s also an account of Mr. Williams’s battle to ensure that no Aggie would have to face the same nightmare. When Nic was accepted, Texas law required that only students living in dorms receive a bacterial meningitis shot. As an off-campus Aggie, Nic wasn’t required to receive the shot. If he had, it might have saved his life. Mr. Williams and other families affected by this loss convinced the state to pass a law requiring this vaccine for all students. Our upload of our vaccination records may seem like just another piece of paper to us, but it saves lives every school year.
Mr. Williams’s story is a heart-touching story of maintaining one’s faith against all odds, and forging forward to continue living and cause change in the face of unspeakable pain. If you’re religious and need inspiration in your journey, this book is for you.
Lauren Slusher is a business honors sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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