Federal judge backs university’s vaccine mandate

The School of Public Health on the campus of the University of Indiana.
The School of Public Health on the campus of the University of Indiana.

A federal judge has given the green light to Indiana University to enforce a requirement that its 90,000 students and 40,000 employees must get vaccinated against coronavirus before returning to campus in August.

The rule allowed exemptions for religious and ethical reasons, medical professional recommendations, and virtual attendance.

Eight students, ranging in age from 18 to 39, said the mandate violated their rights by forcing a medical practice on them. The college said students or employees who are not exempt and refuse the vaccine will lose their registration or jobs.

What did the judge say? In the first ruling of its kind, U.S. District Judge Damon Leichty refused to block the IU rule, writing that the Constitution protects vaccine mandates as a “reasonable and due process.” He said the students’ right to bodily autonomy does not outweigh the greater good for the state.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer said he will appeal Leichty’s decision. Many of the IU plaintiffs had already received exemptions from the school.

About 400 college campuses across the country have announced COVID-19 vaccine mandates for the fall.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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