standing Uconn sign

Photo courtesy UConn National C Club website

NEW HAVEN — A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the University of Connecticut's requirement that all students be vaccinated against the coronavirus before returning to campus for the fall semester.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer in New Haven noted the school allows students to apply for an exemption to the mandate, and two of the three students involved in the lawsuit have received exemptions.

That renders their claims moot, he said.

The third student has not applied for an exemption, so there is no basis for her to file a federal lawsuit, Meyer wrote in his ruling.

The judge, however, said the students “raise important constitutional questions. Why and when should the government have the right to condition access to public education on a student’s sacrifice of his or her right against unwanted medical treatment in the form of a highly invasive injection of a yet-to-be fully approved vaccine?”

It was not immediately clear if the students intend to appeal the ruling.

A message seeking comment was left for their lawyer, Ryan McLane.

The lawsuit, filed against the university's Board of Trustees and acting President Andrew Agwunobi, said the mandate is unethical and unconstitutional because it forces students to be vaccinated as a condition of continuing their studies.

The lawsuit also said most students returning are already vaccinated, the school isn't requiring faculty and staff to be vaccinated and the coronavirus vaccines have known and unknown side effects and have yet to receive final approval from the federal government.

UConn has granted vaccination exemptions to more than 500 students. Officials said about 90% of the 21,000 returning students to the Storrs main campus are fully or partially vaccinated.

Of those, more than 10,100 are residential students and 94% of them are fully or partially vaccinated.

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