Court ruling affirms IU’s COVID-19 vaccination plan

Indiana

SOUTH BEND, Ind (WEHT) – The United States District Court has ruled that Indiana University is reasonably pursuing a legitimate aim of public health for its students, faculty, and staff with its fall semester vaccination policy, and has denied a preliminary injunction motion.

According to court documents, the students “haven’t established a likelihood of success on the merits of their Fourteenth Amendment due process claim, or that the balance of harms or the public’s interest favors the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction, before a trial on the merits.”

The lawyer who is the lead counsel in the lawsuit says the ruling will be appealed. Some students feel Indiana University’s vaccination policy is impending on their rights while others feel safe knowing their classmates and professors will be vaccinated by the fall.

Eight Indiana University students sued the school after university leaders said covid-19 vaccines will be mandatory for by fall. The students didn’t just sue IU because of it’s vaccination mandate, but also because of the extra requirements of masking, testing, and social distancing for those who received an exemption.

Signature School graduate Jocelyn Payne is about to start her freshman year at IU. She says IU’s vaccine mandate makes her feel even safer to move to Bloomington.

“It feels, honestly, kind of selfish to me to be so upset about protecting other people and yourself,” said Payne. “You could chose to go to another university if that’s something you have a problem with.”

The court says the fall 2021 policy does not force anyone to be vaccinated, and the students still have several options: 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.

Indiana University released the following statement on the ruling:

A ruling from the federal court has affirmed Indiana University’s COVID-19 vaccination plan designed for the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff. We appreciate the quick and thorough ruling which allows us to focus on a full and safe return.  We look forward to welcoming everyone to our campuses for the fall semester.

The Bopp Law Firm says the ruling will be appealed.

“Today’s ruling does not end the students’ fight—we plan to immediately appeal the judge’s decision,” said James Bopp, Jr., Director of Litigation for America’s Frontline Doctors, and lead counsel in the lawsuit. “In addition, we plan on asking the judge to put a hold on IU’s Mandate pending that appeal. We are confident the court of appeals will agree that the Mandate should be put on hold.

“Continuing our fight against this unconstitutional mandate is necessary to guarantee that IU students receive the fair due process they’re owed by a public university,” said Bopp. “An admitted IU student’s right to attend IU cannot be conditioned on the student waiving their rights to bodily integrity, bodily autonomy, and consent to medical treatment like IU has done here. IU’s Mandate did not properly balance the risks (both known and unknown) of the COVID vaccine to college-age students against the risks of COVID itself to that population and that college-aged students have a very low risk of adverse effects from a COVID infection. Furthermore, IU did not adequately consider the waning stage of the COVID pandemic before issuing its Mandate.” 

You can read the full court ruling here.

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