A New England Law student got a personalized lesson in federal constitutional, contract, sex-discrimination and "standing" law today when a federal judge dismissed his lawsuit that argued his "unconditional scholarship" to the Stuart Street school meant he doesn't have to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Following a hearing this morning, US District Court Judge William Young dismissed George Artem's lawsuit against the school and its president, Scott Brown (yes, that Scott Brown), agreeing with its lawyers that in accepting his scholarship, Artem agreed to abide by New England Law school policies - and that, in any case, he signed a separate agreement specifically stating he would comply with the school's Covid-19 policy, which requires students to either show proof of vaccination before classes start this fall or convince the school they have a legitimate medical or religious reason to not get vaccinated.
In his lawsuit, filed just last month, Artem argued that by making him take an "experimental" vaccine, the school was violating various Constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth amendments, as well as his rights guaranteed under a federal law known as Title IX, and besides, "unconditional" in his scholarship means the school can't set a vaccination condition.
The school countered, however, that, as a private institution, it's not a "state actor" and so cannot be held to violate rights against government action. It continued that Title IX deals specifically with gender-based discrimination and requiring students to get vaccinated does not have anything to do with sex discrimination.
Also, "unconditional scholarships" to graduate and law programs mean the scholarships can't be taken away if the recipient gets bad grades, not that he or she is free to disregard all school policies, the law school argued.
The Scholarship acceptance form makes clear that students were otherwise required to meet certain expectations, including complying with any student rules. ...
[I]n accepting admission to New England Law, Mr. Artem “agree[d] to abide by its rules and regulations.”
And, again, the school said, Artem specifically and separately signed an agreement to comply with school Covid-19 policies. So in conclusion, the school argued, he has no "standing" to bring a case.
Young dismissed Artem's case with prejudice, meaning Artem better not try to waste the judge's time with further motions. However, Artem does have the right to appeal the decision to the federal appeals court in Boston.