Holcomb said he will not order IU to eliminate its vaccine mandate

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Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said Sunday he will not issue an executive order that reverses Indiana University’s vaccine mandate, despite a request from Republicans in the Legislature and amid mounting political backlash against the school’s decision.

IU announced last month that students and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated to return to campus in the fall and that it will allow very few exceptions.

That led to criticism from Republican lawmakers as well as a non-binding opinion from Attorney General Todd Rokita that said the policy was illegal under a new state law banning the state or local governments from issuing or requiring vaccine passports.

Holcomb, speaking from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on WTHR-TV Channel 13, said “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” and that “conversations are ongoing” about IU’s decision.

IU officials on Thursday defended IU’s decision to require vaccines but said they would “further consider our process for verifying the requirement.”

Holcomb also told WTHR that he found it “rich” that lawmakers would ask him to issue an executive order to ban the IU mandate. The request came from Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, and 17 other Republican members of the House, who said he should prohibit any state university from mandating vaccines that don’t have full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

The COVID-19 vaccines are being administered under emergency authorization.

Some of those same lawmakers have been critical of executive orders Holcomb issued throughout the pandemic that required masks and required businesses to close to try to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Legislature passed a law, enacted over Holcomb’s veto, that gives lawmakers the authority to call themselves into a special session during an emergency. Holcomb filed a lawsuit asking a court to block the law, saying it is unconstitutional. The governor is locked in a battle with Rokita, also a Republican, who claims the governor had no authority to file the suit without his permission.

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13 thoughts on “Holcomb said he will not order IU to eliminate its vaccine mandate

    1. A republican governor believes in small government… A republican governor does not issue mandates on how universities run their business.

      You are looking for a tyranical leader who issues decrees at every whim whether or not they lead to republican values? He lost the last presidential election…

    2. Holcomb, one of the best pragmatic governors in the country during the last year.

    3. A republican governor issues mandates and rules on how private business and churches run themselves, but not the state university? Interesting.

    4. Eric, so if the governor doesn’t do everything that you believe in, then he or she must be a bad leader is really what you’re saying

    5. Glen F, he ordered private organizations to do things but not a government entity (IU). I’d be happy if he had the same laize faire attitude the whole time, allowing individuals to assess their own risk and make their own decisions.

  1. As an individual with three degrees from IU, including an M.D., I was very pleased to see IU make the very reasonable mandate that students, faculty and staff be vaccinated before the start of the fall semester. I have two grandchildren in college currently, and they are both vaccinated, encouraged by their parents, also IU graduates. This is a healthcare issue that has killed hundreds of thousands in this country alone. To not ask people to take care care of their health is negligent. I support Indiana University in their very reasonable decision.

    1. Missing your point about experimental drugs and mandating the use of them in the US population for a very benign COVID variant. Questing the ethics of it all medically.

  2. Mandating an experimental vaccine for college students, the least vulnerable to COVID in our population? Just more heavy-handed leftist tyranny. As for Holcomb, I think this guy is scared of his own shadow. What a gutless excuse for a governor.

    1. John M. A vaccine or drug approved for experimental use is a Very different thing than a vaccine approved through an emergency use authorization. These EUA vaccines were tested on tens of thousands of people. In contrast, do you know what is needed for approval for experimental use? Please feel free to learn the answer and then post again. However, if you post here only to use phrases like “heavy handed leftest tyranny” then I imagine we won’t hear back from you because you likely no interest in informing yourself of the facts.

  3. I support IU and the Governor; let’s get as many college age kids vaccinated as possible. And, oh yes, let’s continue to require wearing of seat belts while driving–although I guess some would consider that a little tyrannical.