Campus vaccine requirement survives; Ivy Tech Lafayette finds new chancellor
IU got ripped by state lawmakers over COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Then it got sued. Judge tells students, in case Purdue was watching, this is a hard, but IU's in line.
This and that on a Tuesday morning …
UNIVERSITY’S VACCINATION POLICY SURVIVES FIRST LEGAL TEST: A federal judge on Monday rejected a group of Indiana University students’ plea for a preliminary injunction against Indiana University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students, staff and faculty before the start of the fall 2021 semester in August.
Carley Lanich, a reporter with the South Bend Tribune, did a fine job of wrapping the students’ claim – that the vaccination requirement violates their religious freedom and right to make their own informed choice of medical treatment, basically making them decide between getting a COVID-19 shot and going back to school at IU – and why the judge ruled IU’s policy was reasonable for the health and safety of the Bloomington campus. Or, reasonable enough that it didn’t warrant a preliminary injunction.
As Lanich reported, U.S. District Court Judge Damon Leichty wrote: "The university is presenting the students with a difficult choice — get the vaccine or else apply for an exemption or deferral, transfer to a different school, or forego schools for the semester altogether. … But, this hard choice doesn't amount to coercion."
The ruling follows some scathing reviews for IU – and to a certain extent, Purdue – from members of the Indiana General Assembly and Indiana Attorney Todd Rokita, who claimed IU’s policy was against a law the state legislature passed in spring 2021, limiting the use of “immunization passports” to prove people were vaccinated. (IU responded by saying the campus still would require immunization, but it wouldn’t demand documentation. Purdue President Mitch Daniels responded, when asked if the attorney general’s opinion factored into the university’s approach: “I didn’t pay much attention to that, no.”)
Meanwhile at Purdue, things haven’t changed since the university put its own stamp on a vaccination requirement. Students have a choice: Submit forms that show they’ve been vaccinated, or be prepared for a fall semester that mirrored the previous academic year’s random COVID-19 testing and other measures. Purdue solidified those guidelines over the weekend, laying out what students needed to do before they could move into campus housing and start classes. Purdue, so far, has avoided legal trouble for it approach. As of Monday, IU seems to have avoided having a legal wrench tossed into its campus reopening plan.
Up next: Bring on Purdue’s drawing for 10 lucky, vaccinated students to win $9,992, the equivalent of a year’s base, in-state tuition.
IVY TECH LAFAYETTE FINDS ITS NEXT CHANCELLOR: With David Bathe retiring after 22 years as chancellor of Ivy Tech Lafayette, the community college turned to a Lafayette native to take on the job next. Aaron Baute, a former FedEx executive who started an Ivy Tech career as an adjunct instructor n 2004, will start as Ivy Tech Lafayette chancellor Aug. 2. Sue Ellspermann, Ivy Tech president, made the announcement Monday. During his time with Ivy Tech, Baute also had been part of the faculty, a department chair for the School of Business and dean of the Division of Technology Lafayette campus before moving into a vice president role with the statewide system, overseeing business, logistics and supply chain workforce development. Baute has degrees from Purdue, Indiana Wesleyan and Indiana State University. Ivy Tech Lafayette also covers campuses and programs in Monticello, Crawfordsville and Frankfort.
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