Eight students from Indiana University (IU) filed a federal lawsuit against the school over the mandate requiring all students, faculty, and staff members to be vaccinated before the start of its fall term.
Only students who receive religious and medical exemptions may pass on the requirement according to the mandate. Otherwise, they face severe consequences, including having their class registration canceled and access to their CrimsonCard and other IU systems terminated.
The plaintiffs argue that the policy forces them to get vaccinated with the threat of severe punishment. Lead attorney for the plaintiffs, James Bopp Jr., pointed out in a press release that IU provides “extremely limited exemptions” that fail to take into account natural immunity to the virus and other medical concerns.
“It is coercing its students under threat of virtual expulsion to take a vaccine even though the risks associated with the vaccine, especially for college-age students, are serious and increasingly recognized, and students are at an extremely low risk of adverse effects if they get a COVID infection,” Bopp wrote.
Last month, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita criticized IU’s vaccine policy for requiring students to submit proof, claiming that it violates state law. However, Rokita also explained that public universities are not forbidden from requiring vaccination from their students and employees.
The school revised its mandate after the announcement, asking students to fill out an online form rather than requiring them to upload vaccination documentation.
University officials stated that the vaccination policy will not be removed, however, since Rokita’s statement affirmed that IU has the right to demand its students be inoculated.
“The requirement for all Indiana University students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated before the return to school in August remains in place,” IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said. “The university is confident it will prevail in this case.”