Liberty Counsel recently sent a demand letter to A.T. Still University School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Missouri on behalf of two dental students, and now they will no longer be required to take the COVID-19 “vaccine.”
Sharon Murza and Ashley Swanson are enrolled in the ATSU School of Dentistry and Oral Health and received an email notification that ATSU was requiring them to receive a COVID-19 “vaccine” in order “to participate in clinical academic experiences.” The two students are Christians and hold sincere religious beliefs that prohibit them from receiving a vaccine.
Murza and Swanson requested a religious exemption from the university, explaining their beliefs and complying with its procedural requirements. Both students explained they were willing to follow all of the various safety protocols that were previously in place, and any other reasonable precautions the university might require, but that they could not violate their conscience and accept a vaccine.
The university initially delayed a response, then required Murza and Swanson to fill out a new form, and ultimately advised them that it had denied their exemption request “due to unsubstantiated evidence.” When the two students requested clarification of what “evidence” the school was requiring, they were simply told again that their exemption requests had been denied and that no appeal rights exist.
Liberty Counsel then intervened on their behalf and sent a legal demand letter to ATSU, demonstrating that Murza and Swanson had supplied all of the “evidence” requested or necessary, and that they were legally entitled to an exemption based upon their sincerely held religious beliefs. Liberty Counsel advised the university that failing to grant Murza and Swanson with the requested exemption would violate both federal and state law. This also includes FDA regulations that prohibit making the currently available emergency-authorized injections mandatory, and the Missouri Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion by places of public accommodation, including private universities.
Upon receiving the letter, ATSU’s legal counsel advised Liberty Counsel that the university had changed its decision and had now approved the religious exemption requested by Murza and Swanson. The two students will now be allowed to complete their education and training without interference or adverse action from the university.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Forcing any person to receive one of these COVID injections is a violation of federal law. The COVID injections are not licensed by the FDA and are still in the investigation and experimental phase. Even if they were licensed by the FDA, employers and schools must respect a person’s personal and religious decision to not inject a drug into their body. No employer or government may force or coerce anyone to take these injections, and certainly not when doing so violates sincerely held religious beliefs.”