Lawyers for UMass Lowell and UMass Boston will request a federal decide Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit introduced in U.S. District Court docket by two college students who claim the schools’ COVID vaccine mandates violate their legal rights.
Hunter Harris, an incoming junior at UMass Lowell from Medway, and Cora Cluett, an incoming senior at UMass Boston from Quincy, submitted a lawsuit on July 30, asking the court docket to declare the mandates unconstitutional and prevent the universities from imposing them.
The learners declare that they confront expulsion if they refuse the vaccine mandates and that their legal rights to owing course of action had been violated by the universities. They argue that the condition — not the colleges — has the authority to mandate vaccines, and say that although earlier precedent has held that vaccine necessities are lawful, the situations dealt with vaccines accepted by the Foodstuff and Drug Administration. The lawsuit was submitted extra than 3 weeks just before the Fda accepted the Pfizer vaccine for ages 16 and up.
Cluett is furthermore arguing that UMass Boston’s denial of her request for religious exemption from the vaccine violates her free of charge workout of religion.
In asking the court docket to dismiss the situation, Attorney Common Maura Healey’s place of work, symbolizing the universities, argued that earlier Supreme Court docket and federal courtroom conclusions have held that compulsory vaccinations have been constitutional.
On top of that, the point out claimed that pupils have no constitutional suitable to religious exemption from a vaccine requirement.
Federal Judge Denise Casper will preside above the listening to on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
Ryan McLane, the law firm for Harris and Cluett, has represented other learners in similar scenarios this yr, together with a team at the College of Connecticut that fought the school’s vaccine policy earlier this summer time. A federal choose dismissed that lawsuit past 7 days.
On April 26, UMass Boston introduced that all students experienced to be absolutely vaccinated versus COVID to entry the campus during the tumble semester, with exceptions granted to people with medical, spiritual or disability requires. UMass Lowell announced a very similar plan two days later on.
Cluett applied for a religious exemption, but was denied by UMass Boston right after the university decided that since she is a Roman Catholic, getting the vaccine would not go versus her religion, the lawsuit promises. Cluett is arguing that the school’s choice violates her spiritual independence.
Harris is not proclaiming any medical or spiritual exemption.
“I’m not an anti-vaxxer, I have hardly ever been an anti-vaxxer and I will under no circumstances be an anti-vaxxer,” Harris explained through an Aug. 2 visual appeal on Fox Information.
“This particular vaccination has not been all-around lengthy more than enough for me to feel comfy, yet,” he extra.
As of Wednesday, much more than 180 UMass Lowell pupils had been accredited for exemptions to the vaccine mandates, the vast greater part on spiritual grounds, according to Nancy Cicco, the school’s assistant director of media relations. An additional 58 cases were still pending, she stated. Out of about 240 learners that have applied for exemptions, just a person has been denied.