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IU Bloomington students, staff protest COVID-19 vaccination mandate

BLOOMINGTON (WISH) — Exhibiting passion and anger, parents, students and staff had a protest Thursday on the Indiana University Bloomington campus over IU’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

Protesters held up signs saying “rescind the mandate,” Free to choose,” and “My body, my choice.”

The mandate for students, staff and faculty includes some exemptions for religious and medical reasons.

Jackson Pauwels and his mother came to protest. He said, “I think that it’s ridiculous that Indiana University requires a vaccine for me to come to school here.”

Kris Sipes, the parent of an IU student, said, “I hope that a lot of the people research for themselves how this vaccine works.” 

Ann Dorris, president of The IU Family for Choice, not Mandates Inc., said, “The hope and the goal is that the board of trustees will rescind all mandates for these students coming in this fall. Even though they softened it (the mandate) and allowed medical exemptions and religious exemptions, it’s still not enough.”

Event organizer, Andrea Ford says she thinks there are other ways to maintain safety.

“I know that a lot of times, attendance is a pretty strict policy among faculty. So, maybe having days built up for students so that if they aren’t feeling well, they can stay home without feeling the pressure to make it to class even if they’re not feeling well.” Andrea Ford, the event organizer explained to News 8.

According to Dorris, her group is considering filing a lawsuit against the university to get the vaccine mandate rescinded.

Chuck Carney, a spokesman for the university, said the vaccine is required for faculty, students, and staff because it’s the safest thing for them, and IU has followed the science. “This is the next step forward. It’s the way that we can return to a more normal campus experience across all of our campuses, with having everybody fully vaccinated.”

Chad Martin, an IU parent and employee, disagrees with the university’s vaccine mandate. “To come out here and tell me you’re either going to take a jab or you’re going to terminate my job, then you’re coming as a threat against me because I provide for my family that way.”

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