Western Michigan University reaches settlement with athletes who declined to get vaccinated
Western Michigan University (WMU) has decided to drop its legal fight against student-athletes who declined to get the COVID-19 vaccine, The Associated Press reported.
Attorneys confirmed to the news wire on Tuesday that the university reached a settlement with the athletes, who sued in order to be allowed to play sports without having the vaccine. The university’s decision comes after it suffered two courtroom losses.
According to the court filing, WMU will allow athletes to play their respective sport while requiring them to undergo daily COVID-19 testing and follow a mask mandate when appropriate.
WMU began its fall semester by requiring student-athletes to be vaccinated against the virus.
A group of at least 16 athletes argued for a religious exemption, which the school denied. The athletes subsequently sued the school.
In October, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the athletes, arguing the university had violated their constitutional right to adhere to their Christian beliefs.
Attorney David Kallman said the university will pay $34,000 in legal fees in the settlement.
WMU also said those athletes who seek religious exemption can still keep scholarships and be members of their teams.
“The university wishes the student athletes well in their academic and athletic careers, and the student athletes are excited to continue their academic and athletic careers,” the university and the Great Lakes Justice Center said in a joint statement.
Outside athletics, vaccinations among WMU students and staff are encouraged but not required, the AP noted.