Students sue Catholic university for denying them vaccine exemptions on religious grounds

Four pro-life students are suing a Catholic university for denying their request to obtain religious exemptions from the coronavirus vaccine.

Creighton University, a Jesuit-affiliated school with campuses in Omaha, Nebraska, and Phoenix, Arizona, is the subject of a lawsuit by four of its students, who are challenging the newly instituted requirement that students provide proof that they have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine before they can attend classes on campus. While the university allows students to request medical exemptions from the vaccine requirement, it does not allow exemptions based on religious objections.

The lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, on Wednesday by attorney Robert Sullivan on behalf of Creighton University students Lauren Ramaekers, Patrice Quadrel, Sarah Stinsel and Jane Doe. It noted that Creighton University set Sept. 7 as the deadline for all students to receive at least one dose of the vaccine. Any student who did not receive at least one dose of the vaccine by this time was to be “‘unenrolled’ or administratively withdrawn after 4:30 p.m. on that date.”

“Each of the plaintiffs have religious objections to the Covid-19 vaccines based on the fact that the vaccines were developed and/or tested using abortion derived fetal cell lines and some have serious medical conditions which make the vaccine ‘not recommended,’” Sullivan wrote. The use of vaccines “developed and/or tested using abortion derived fetal cell lines” has divided the Catholic Church, which is known for its outspoken opposition to abortion.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans has urged faithful Catholics to refrain from taking the “morally compromised” single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to its use of aborted fetal cells in production and testing. Meanwhile, the Vatican has assured Catholics that “it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.”

Catholic World Report noted that Ramaekers received a letter from Tanya Winegard, Creighton vice provost for student life, informing her that “Creighton University communicated to you that vaccination documentation of your first vaccine dose must be submitted by Sept. 7, 2021.” Winegard told Ramaekers that “Student Health Education and Compliance (SHEC) records indicate that you have not submitted the required documentation. Therefore, you are in violation of the Creighton University Standards of Conduct.”

The lawsuit maintained that because the students “have been attending classes since the semester started, and Defendant has accepted tuition money and other fees the Plaintiffs have paid,” the university had entered into a binding contract with the students.

Sullivan argued that keeping the plaintiffs’ tuition money while expelling them from campus for refusing to take the coronavirus vaccine constituted a breach of the contract. The lawsuit asked a judge to order Creighton to “re-enroll and [reinstate] Plaintiffs to Creighton University, and enjoining Defendant from expelling, unenrolling, disciplining, retaliating against, or otherwise restricting all students’ access to classes, and any other service or privilege afforded to the students of Creighton University due to their vaccination status.”

Social Share This

Leave a Comment