‘They need to essentially comply with the law.’ AG’s office warns universities to accept exemptions to COVID vaccines

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to the chairmen of the four university systems across the state on Monday, August 23.

That includes LSU, Southern, University of Louisiana, and the Louisiana Community & Technical College System.

It urges them to follow the law and allow folks with certain exemptions to forgo getting a COVID-19 shot.

“Well, we certainly have received quite a few phone calls from parents and people who have been concerned about vaccine mandates,” said Elizabeth Murrill, Solicitor General, Louisiana Department of Justice.

Murrill and the Attorney General’s Office are standing their ground when it comes to potential vaccine mandates.

AG Landry Letter to University Systems
AG Landry Letter to University Systems(WAFB)
AG Landry Letter to University Systems
AG Landry Letter to University Systems(WAFB)
AG Landry Letter to University Systems
AG Landry Letter to University Systems(WAFB)

“They need to essentially comply with the law, they need to adopt the least restrictive means possible, and not be punitive or retaliatory against students or individuals who are exercising their legal rights,” said Murrill.

The letter from the AG’s Office comes right after the Pfizer vaccine was fully approved by the FDA, leading the way for potentially more vaccine mandates at your child’s school.

“It (Pfizer FDA full approval) does change the legal status in regard to the employers and schools’ ability to add vaccines to their list of mandatory vaccines. But we still have exemptions under the law,” said Murrill.

Those exemptions can be medical reasons or even your religious beliefs.

The Solicitor General says the courts have already ruled against a school for Osteopathic Medicine on the University of Louisiana Monroe’s campus, that was trying to mandate its students get the vaccine.

“They might find themselves in the same situation that VCOM did, facing a lawsuit and an injunction, or a restraining order by a federal judge or a state court judge. In that case, it’s a federal judge saying they are prohibited from discriminating against these students in the manner that they did,” said Murrill.

“I think a lot of people across the state view the Attorney General as someone who is anti-vaccine. Is that the case?,” questioned WAFB’s Lester Duhe’.

“Absolutely not. I mean, he’s not anti-vaccine, nor am I. We think the vaccines are great for the people who are able to take them. Not everybody can have a vaccine. I think it’s a problem that there’s been a sort of mass rush to judgment that everyone can get vaccinated, therefore they must be vaccinated. And if they do not choose to be vaccinated, then they are choosing to die or cause other people’s deaths, it’s just not true. And I think it’s really counter-productive this, mass rush to mandate vaccines is also counter-productive, because it’s going to cause people to double down, it’s more divisive than it is helpful. And I think that we’re going to see more people getting angrier and angrier, as this continues to grow,” said the Louisiana Solicitor General.

She also is raising questions after LSU Athletics announced all fans in Tiger Stadium need to be vaccinated or test negative for COVID 72 hours before a home game.

“So don’t think it’s proper or legal in terms of the contract they made with their season ticket holders. This is not like on the back of your ticket, that says we can deny you at any time. They’re saying that we are basically re-nagging on the deal that we made, and that you paid for when you bought these tickets, this whole season package of tickets,” said Murrill.

She believes LSU Athletics could fix the problem by changing their policy, to make sure that people do not lose their tickets for next season, even if they decide to get a refund for this Fall season.

To see an example of the exemption letter click here.

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