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Indiana University Can Mandate Vaccines, Federal Judge Rules

A federal judge has ruled that Indiana University (IU) is allowed to mandate that students get a COVID-19 vaccination before coming back to campus, as NPR reported. The decision in favor of the state school’s vaccine policy comes as hundreds of schools have vaccine mandates in place, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

The IU policy states, “With the ultimate goal of returning our campuses to normal operations, beginning with the fall 2021 semester, all Indiana University (including IUPUI) students, faculty and staff will be required to have a COVID-19 vaccine and be fully vaccinated before returning to campus.”

“You must be fully vaccinated by August 15 or when you return to campus after August 1, whichever is earlier,” the policy reads, later stipulating that the vaccines must be FDA-approved. “A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after having all doses of a vaccine (2 doses for Pfizer, Moderna; 1 dose for Johnson & Johnson).”

The school asks students, faculty, and staff to attest to their vaccinated status and also includes some leeway for those arriving from international locations where the vaccine may be less accessible. If people refuse the vaccine, there are consequences.

“For students, they will see their class registration cancelled, CrimsonCard access terminated, access to IU systems (Canvas, email, etc.) terminated, and will not be allowed to participate in any on campus activity,” the policy says. “Faculty and staff who choose not to meet the requirement will no longer be able to be employed by Indiana University. Working remotely and not meeting the COVID-19 vaccine requirement is not an option.”

There are some exemptions to the policy: religious, ethical, medical (with a note from a medical provider) and online – students enrolled in only virtual classes are not mandated to receive the jab.

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In June, as NPR reported, eight students sued the school over the policy, calling it unconstitutional and a violation of personal autonomy. As NPR noted then, many educational institutions have long required other kinds of vaccinations for attendees. The students’ complaint alleged a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment. They also cited the Tuskegee syphilis experiment as a comparison, writing that despite some key differences, “IU’s Mandate does not provide for voluntary and informed consent to the taking of the vaccine, a fundamental tenet of medical ethics, which the Tuskegee Institute also failed.”

“The situation here is a far cry from past blunders in medical ethics like the Tuskegee Study,” U.S. District Judge Damon Leichty wrote in the new ruling, according to NPR.

An IU rep told NPR the university appreciates “the quick and thorough ruling.” A lawyer for the students said they plan to appeal the decision.

Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Watch Olivia Rodrigo Interview Dr. Fauci About COVID-19 Vaccines

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