Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging UMass Vaccine Mandate
The judge noted that the University of Massachusetts has a strong interest in stemming the spread of COVID-19.
A federal judge has ruled that the University of Massachusetts’ (UMass) Lowell and Boston campuses can continue to require students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before they can return to campus.
UMass Lowell junior Hunter Harris and UMass Boston senior Cora Cluett argued in their lawsuit that the vaccine mandate was unconstitutional, reports MassLive. Cluett also argued that her school’s denial of her request for a religious exemption violated her religious freedom.
However, U.S. District Judge Denise Casper dismissed their case, saying the campuses “based the decision upon both medical and scientific evidence and research and guidance and thus is at least rationally related to these legitimate interests,” reports the Associated Press.
The judge noted that UMass has a strong interest in stemming the spread of COVID-19. She also commented that students who don’t want to get vaccinated can take online classes.
UMass requires students to be fully vaccinated before they can come on campus. There are medical exemptions to the mandate, as well as religious exemptions. However Cluett’s request for a religious exemption was denied when the school determined she was Roman Catholic and that getting vaccinated was not banned by the church, reports MassLive.
A similar lawsuit against the University of Connecticut’s vaccine mandate was dismissed a week before the UMass case.
Additionally, last month Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett ruled that Indiana University could continue with its vaccination mandate.
The UMass vaccine mandate decision came just as the fall semester began for both campuses. UMass Lowell started its classes on September 1, while UMass Boston starts on September 7.
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