Indiana University wins in suit over its mask, vaccine mandates

Image of masked parents and students near a car.

Enlarge / Early in the pandemic, Indiana University sent its students home to protect them from infection. (credit: SOPA Images/Getty Images)

On Monday, the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled against students who were seeking an injunction that would block the Indiana University from implementing a vaccine mandate ahead of the start of the fall semester. Both courts relied on a Supreme Court precedent from over a century ago that declared a far broader vaccine mandate to be constitutionally acceptable.

We discussed the case with Georgetown Law Professor Lawrence Gostin, who indicated that this sort of decision isn't going to be limited to Indiana; nationally, vaccine mandates would be acceptable from a constitutional perspective. Many states, however, have passed laws that limit or outright prohibit vaccine or mask mandates. And these laws would override university policies that the federal courts have concluded are perfectly reasonable.

Not sending their best

The suit ruled upon this week was brought by eight students at Indiana University. The university had crafted a policy that mandated vaccines for all students but allowed religious and medical exceptions. Those granted exceptions would be required to wear a mask on campus and have frequent tests for the virus. Failure to comply with these policies will lead to the student having their university computer accounts (including email) suspended and campus access cards deactivated.

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