A federal judge in South Bend upheld Indiana University’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the upcoming school year.
Eight students sued the university seeking to temporarily stop the mandate. However, Judge Damon Leichty said Monday the U.S. Supreme Court upheld states’ authority to compel reasonable vaccinations twice before.
“The States don’t have arbitrary power, but they have discretion to act reasonably in protecting the public’s health,” the decision reads.
The judge said IU’s policy has real implications but provides real options. Students, faculty and staff can take the vaccine, apply for an exemption or deferral, take a semester off, transfer universities, or attend online.
“We appreciate the quick and thorough ruling which allows us to focus on a full and safe return,” IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to our campuses for the fall semester.”
The ruling is a response to a preliminary injunction motion, not the final decision of the case.
Attorney James Bopp, who is representing the students in the lawsuit, said he plans to appeal the decision.
“Today’s ruling does not end the students’ fight,” Bopp said in a statement. “In addition, we plan on asking the judge to put a hold on IU’s mandate pending that appeal.
“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.”