INDIANAPOLIS — For the first time, a Supreme Court Justice weighed in on the legality of a COVID-19 mandate by a private or public establishment.
The case regarding Indiana University’s vaccine mandate was reviewed by Justice Amy Coney Barrett and was never referred to the full court. Justice Barrett made a swift decision to uphold the mandate.
IUPUI students who are getting ready to start classes on August 23 shared mixed feelings about the ruling and the mandate.
“I really did not want to do it because there is not enough that has been looked into," said Autumn Leonard who was touring the campus with her aunt on Friday.
Leonard said she likely would not have gotten the vaccine if it were not for the mandate by the university.
Her aunt, Tara Elless, had mixed feelings about the requirement. While she sees the benefits of the university-wide rule, she also feels people have certain factors they may need to consider before receiving the vaccine.
“I’m not surprised but it’s also frustrating that we don’t get to make our own decision about that. But also I’m not one of those people that is not going to jeopardize people because of my own fear,” Elless said.
Talia Pagan is another student who only received the vaccine because of the mandate.
“I literally only got it because of school,” she said. The sophomore business management major feels like it should have been her choice. “I understand the circumstances but I just feel like you shouldn’t force anyone to get."
Jessica Albatarsach and her sister, Lara, are both fully vaccinated. They say they would’ve gotten the vaccine no matter what but had differing opinions on the mandate.
“Personally I got the vaccine but I don’t think it’s fair to require everyone to get it because there should be a choice involved,” Jessica said.
Lara feels it makes the campus safer knowing that those who are sitting next to you in your classroom are also vaccinated, “It’s kind of a nice reassuring thing,” she said.
Mohammed Insaafnazeer, a senior neuroscience major at IUPUI said the mandate makes sense to him. He feels this kind of requirement will help lead to an end to the pandemic.
“You protect yourself, by protecting yourself you protect the community. I think it’s as simple as that,” Insaafnazeer said.
The ruling was a major win for IU. The school was one of the first universities to announce a mandate.
“Indiana University was really the first test case that went through the federal court and now to the US supreme court. Indiana University was really one of the first out of the block with this and now the tally nationwide is close to 675 colleges and universities that have a vaccine requirement,” said Kirk White, Assistance Vice President at IU. White feels the ruling may set a precedent for future vaccination mandates, “We’re pleased that the legal system used past precedent for upholding our requirement citing the requirement for other vaccinations.”
Spokesperson for Indiana University, Chuck Carney, also shared this statement with WRTV:
With a third ruling, now from the nation’s highest court, affirming Indiana University’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, we look forward to beginning fall semester with our health and safety policies in place. We are grateful to those who have stepped up to protect themselves and others; 85% of our students, faculty and staff are approaching full vaccination.