Federal court rules Indiana University allowed to impose mandatory vaccination requirement, for now

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Group gathered at Indiana University’s Sample Gates to protest against mandatory Covid vaccinations. Credit: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/Shutter
Group gathered at Indiana University’s Sample Gates to protest against mandatory Covid vaccinations. Credit: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/Shutter

Indiana University is one of hundreds of colleges mandating COVID-19 vaccinations this year.

According to university policy, students and staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they qualify for a medical, religious or ethical exemption, or unless a student is attending a fully online program. 

Eight students sued the school in June, asking for a preliminary injunction to halt the university’s policy. In the complaint, they argued the rules trample on their rights under the 14th Amendment, “which includes rights of personal autonomy and bodily integrity, and the right to reject medical treatment.”

The students, represented by the Bopp Law Firm in Terre Haute, Ind., had a range of reasons for opposing the mandate, including the relatively low risk of developing serious symptoms based on their age and the unknown long-term effects of the vaccine. 

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[Recently], the court denied the motion for a preliminary injunction, which would have halted the vaccine requirement as the case worked its way through the courts. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Damon Leichty wrote, “The situation here is a far cry from past blunders in medical ethics like the Tuskegee Study.”

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