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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Vaccination in Court

Many posts have discussed COVID, disinformation, and vaccine hesitancy.

Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed:

Writing for the panel, Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote: "People who do not want to be vaccinated may go elsewhere. Many universities require vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, but many others do not. Plaintiffs have ample educational opportunities."
He added: "Each university may decide what is necessary to keep other students safe in a congregate setting. Health exams and vaccinations against other diseases ... are common requirements of higher education. Vaccination protects not only the vaccinated persons but also those who come into contact with them, and at a university close contact is inevitable."

In addition, the judges noted that a university may do things to students because they are students, such as charging them tuition. "Undergraduates must part with at least $11,000 a year (in-state tuition) even though Indiana could not summarily confiscate that sum from all residents of college age."

The appeals court also said the First Amendment does not protect the students from the requirement. "The First Amendment means that a state cannot tell anyone what to read or write, but a state university may demand that students read things they prefer not to read and write things they prefer not to write. A student must read what a professor assigns, even if they student deems the books heretical, and must write exams or essays as required. A student who is told to analyze the role of nihilism in Dostoevsky's The Possessed but who submits an essay about Iago's motivations in Othello will flunk."