A policy that requires all Indiana University faculty, staff and students to provide proof of getting the coronavirus vaccine before returning for the fall semester “runs afoul” of state law, said Indiana Atty. Gen. Todd Rokita, in an opinion issued Wednesday.
“This session, members of the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation to codify in law a prohibition on COVID-19 vaccine passports, preventing public institutions from mandating proof of vaccination as a condition for receiving services or employment,” said Rokita. “Indiana University’s policy clearly runs afoul of state law—and the fundamental liberties and freedoms this legislation was designed to protect.”
Rokita’s opinion states that only requiring proof of the vaccine violates the law, not the requirement itself.
Rokita, after a request from state Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) and state Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington), issued his opinion, adding that public universities are arms of the state, covered under the law.
“In response to the concerns of Hoosiers across the state, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year to ban government-issued COVID-19 vaccine passports,” said Mayfield. “Under this law, I agree with the attorney general, as it was my intent, that public entities, including state universities, can’t require proof of the vaccine. Hoosiers should have the right to make healthcare decisions that best suit their families, their personal medical circumstances, and a broad interpretation of their religious beliefs – a concept that we’re disappointed to see Indiana University has rejected.”
Democrats have criticized moves by Republicans to have the requirement nixed.
“It’s disappointing – yet not surprising – to hear the Indiana Republican Party would rather place politics above the health and safety of a community — mostly composed of young people,” said Drew Anderson, spokesperson for the Indiana Democratic Party.
“These unnecessary risks work against the recommendations provided by local and university officials. Sadly, it appears Indiana Republicans would rather focus on shallow rhetoric than deliver common-sense solutions.”