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Protest erupts over Indiana University's vaccine mandate

Written by on June 10, 2021

Indiana University students, parents, faculty and staff rallied Thursday, demanding the school drop its mandate that individuals must be fully vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall. 

The school earlier this month said students, faculty and staff must fill out a form stating that they have been vaccinated. That guidance was softened a bit from an order last month stating students and staff must provide proof of full vaccination by Aug. 15 at the latest. 

Those who cannot receive the vaccine due to religious and medical reasons are exempt from the requirement.  

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Students who do not meet the vaccine requirement will have their class schedules canceled and email and pay cards turned off. Faculty and staff members who do not oblige will be terminated. 

“We want the university to “entirely rescind the policy and remove restrictions of masks and mitigation testing,” said Andrea Ford, an Indiana University graduate and organizer of the rally held by The IU Family for Choice, Not Mandates. 

The group was hoping for about 500 people to stop by the rally, held at the Sample Gates on the university’s main Bloomington campus, but said the turnout could be impacted by students already being home for the summer. 

Indiana University’s restrictions are the most stringent in the state of Indiana. 

Nobody in the state has been required to get vaccinated and almost all restrictions have been lifted. Nobody in Monroe County, nor in Bloomington, where the university is located, has been required to receive the vaccine.   

“I am convinced the IU vaccination mandate is unconstitutional,” said James Bopp Jr., an Indiana University alum and constitutional lawyer who has won nine cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. “A government school [state school] has to comply with the Constitution because that’s what the Constitution applies to, is limits on the government.

Bopp said the mandate is an invasion of a person’s liberty and violates the 14th Amendment, which declares a state should not deprive a person of due process of law. 

He also noted that both the medical and religious exemptions are also unconstitutional. 

Anyone who qualifies for the religious exemption must wear a mask and be subject to testing twice a week and other restrictions. But there is no religious exception to that, making it unconstitutional. Additionally, the medical exception is unconstitutional because it doesn’t apply to anyone who has already had COVID, which causes risk factors, he said.   

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We want students to realize that they have a choice as to what goes into their body,” Ford said. 

A spokesperson for the university said the school will not change the requirements it announced in May.

“We are focused on moving forward with the vaccine requirement for the fall as a measure to keep our campuses safe,” the spokesperson told Fox News. “By having the vast majority of the IU community vaccinated, IU can confidently return to in-person classes, in-person events, and a more typical university experience.”

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