Federal Appeals Court upholds Indiana University’s vaccine mandate
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Indiana University can proceed with its plan to require students and employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19, in what is the highest court decision regarding college immunization mandates.
The Chicago-based appeals court upheld an Indiana district court judge’s ruling that found that the university was acting reasonably “in pursuing public health and safety for its campus communities.”
Both courts rejected a request by eight IU students who sought to block the requirement while they challenge its legality, claiming that it would violate their constitutional rights by forcing them to receive unwanted medical treatment.
The policy makes vaccination a condition of attending the university, and students who don’t want to get vaccinated can also seek “ample educational opportunities” elsewhere, according to the appeals court ruling. Still, the vaccination policy allows exemptions on religious and medical grounds, which the court said provides constitutional accommodations for those who qualify.
“Once again, the court has affirmed our legitimate public health interest in assuring the safety of our students, faculty and staff and we are excited to welcome our community back for the fall semester,” the university said.