BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Eight Indiana University students are suing the school, alleging that its COVID-19 vaccine requirement violates both their constitutional rights and the state’s new vaccine passport law.
The federal lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges that students face “strong consequences” if they refuse to get vaccinated, including canceled class registration and limits on taking part in on-campus activities.
The suit contends that IU’s policy violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which includes the rights of personal autonomy and bodily integrity and the right to reject medical treatment.
The students’ complaint also alleges that IU’s policy violates Indiana’s recently passed law banning vaccine “passports,” which Republican legislators pushed and which conservatives portray as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.
IU is offering students medical and religious exemptions. Several of the students suing the school have applied for, and been granted, exemptions based on their religious beliefs. But the suit says they object to extra requirements placed on students who receive exemptions, such as requiring them to wear masks in public spaces.
Earlier this month, Indiana University modified its COVID-19 vaccination requirement, making it optional that students and employees provide proof of getting the shots. IU’s initial mandatory vaccine requirement drew protests from many state officials.
Indiana University said in a statement Monday that its recent vaccine policy change puts it within the bounds of state law and adds that the school “is confident it will prevail in this case.”