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Students sue a Catholic University for refusing to grant religious exemptions to vaccine mandate

Students at Creighton University in Nebraska filed suit on September 8

Updated: September 14, 2021 - 9:36am

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A group of students at a Catholic Jesuit university in Nebraska are suing the school for refusing to grant a religious exemption to the institution's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Four students filed suit against Creighton University arguing the school is violating students' religious freedoms by refusing to provide a religious exemption to the mandate it has put in place for students and faculty. The school is charged with "arbitrary and disparate treatment of students and violations of religious freedom."

Creighton set a Sept. 7 deadline for students to file proof of vaccination, even those students exclusively enrolled for online classes. The school stated that anyone who refused the present proof of vaccination would be "administratively withdrawn from the school."

On Sept. 8, students who had not filed proof of receiving the vaccine began receiving notifications from the university that their school accounts had been placed on hold. Some students learned they would no longer be allowed to attend classes until their medical records had been appropriately updated. 

Initially, the school opted to issue religious exemptions before any of the vaccines had received full FDA approval, but once the Pfizer-BioNTech shot received sign off in late August, Creighton informed students of their new medical obligation.