A federal judge declined Sunday to issue a preliminary injunction against Indiana University’s vaccine requirement for students and employees, court documents show.
Judge Damon Leichty of the Northern District of Indiana denied the request after eight students said the mandate violated their constitutional rights and state law, according to court documents. The vaccine mandate will stay while the case is decided, leaving the requirement in place for more than 100,000 students, faculty and staff at the university for the fall 2021 semester, according to The Hill.
People can opt-out for religious and medical exemptions, according to court documents. However, students who aren’t vaccinated face new rules such as mask requirements, frequent COVID-19 testing and physical distancing.
“The Fourteenth Amendment permits Indiana University to pursue a reasonable and due process of vaccination in the legitimate interest of public health for its students, faculty, and staff,” Leichty wrote.
“The court isn’t saying a student doesn’t have the right to choose,” Leichty wrote. “Of course every individual does — subject to the state’s reasonable measures designed to pursue legitimate ends of disease control or eradication.”
Leichty said there’s no constitutional right to a college education and that students have multiple options for colleges if they don’t like Indiana University’s rules, according to court documents. “Taking the vaccine, applying for a religious exemption, applying for a medical exemption, applying for a medical deferral, taking a semester off, or attending another university or online” are all options students can take if they don’t like the mandate, Leichty said.
Republican State Attorney General Todd Rokita in May criticized the school’s initial policies, saying it went against state law because students are required to submit proof of vaccination, according to The Hill. Indiana state or local governments can’t require a person to show proof of vaccination before entering a public event or venue, the law states.
However, Rokita also said there is no law prohibiting vaccine mandates at the school.
The university later reversed the requirement to show proof after state lawmakers passed a ban on “vaccine passports” in May according to WGN9.
IU has updated its vaccine verification and exemption process. A form for requesting vaccination exemption will be available on June 2.
— Indiana University (@IndianaUniv) June 1, 2021
Indiana University didn’t respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: CEO Of United Airlines Calls For Companies To Mandate COVID Vaccine)
Rutgers University mandated in April that students get vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to in-person instruction.
Nearly 80% of Democrats believe employers should mandate the coronavirus vaccine, meanwhile, only 39% of Republicans agreed, in a recent CBS News-YouGov poll in June. The poll was conducted between June 8 and June 10 among 2,037 adults with a margin of error of 2.6%.
President Joe Biden’s administration said they have no plans to impose a federal vaccination mandate or database in May.
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