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Judge issues order barring Western Michigan University from mandating COVID vaccine for athletes 

However, judge denied request for restraining order from naturally immune university employee challenging Michigan State mandate.

Published: September 1, 2021 4:40pm

Updated: September 1, 2021 5:30pm

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring Western Michigan University from mandating COVID-19 vaccination for its athletes. 

However, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney also denied a TRO request from a Michigan State University employee who is challenging its vaccine mandate on the argument that she has natural immunity, according to the Detroit News

Maloney's 14-day pause on Western Michigan's vaccine mandate follows four student-athletes on Monday suing on the grounds it violated their religious beliefs. 

After the university denied the athletes' request for religious exemptions, they were set to be kicked off their teams if they weren't vaccinated prior to Tuesday. 

Maloney said the university’s mandate "is not justified by a compelling interest and is not narrowly tailored," requirements for infringement on religious rights, the Detroit News also reports. 

"When law forces an individual to choose between following her religious beliefs or forfeiting benefits, the law places a substantial burden on the individual's free exercise of religion," wrote the judge, a George W. Bush appointee.  

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