All students at Indiana University, unless they meet an exemption, must be vaccinated for COVID-19 starting next semester, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
“People who do not want to be vaccinated can go elsewhere,” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in the decision.
Universities may decide what is needed to keep students safe, the court said, denying a motion for an injunction pending appeal.
Eight students filed a federal lawsuit against IU in June over its vaccine mandate. The lawsuit said the students were being coerced into receiving the vaccine under threat of expulsion, violating their Fourteenth Amendment right to bodily autonomy and the right to reject medical treatment.
A university will have trouble operating when each student fears that others may be spreading a disease, the court said.
“Few people want to return to remote education-and we do not think that the Constitution forces the distance-learning approach on a university that believes vaccination (or masks and frequent testing of the unvaccinated) will make in-person operations safe enough,” the decision said.
The COVID-19 vaccine is required for students, staff and faculty beginning this fall and all should be fully vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall, IU announced in May. There are religious, medical and ethical exemptions.
Unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks on campus and will be subject to mitigation testing twice a week.
Students who choose not to get vaccinated will have their class registration canceled and will lose access to Canvas, CrimsonCard services, IU email and on-campus activities. Faculty and staff who choose not to get vaccinated will no longer be employed by the university according to the university.