On Monday, First Liberty Institute announced it has reached an amicable settlement with Oakland (MI) University (“OU”) on behalf of former student Inara Ramazanova. OU evicted Ramazanova from campus housing because she shared information about COVID-19 vaccine accommodations on social media.
“We appreciate Oakland University bringing this case to a positive conclusion,” said Justin Butterfield, Deputy General Counsel at First Liberty Institute. “Inara was simply exercising her free speech rights by sharing information on social media. She is happy this incident is behind her and she is grateful for her time at OU.” In settling with Inara, OU makes no admission of liability or wrongdoing.
Last summer, OU granted Ms. Ramazanova, who immigrated from Russia, a religious accommodation from the university’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The accommodation would have allowed her to reside on campus for the 2021–22 academic year. However, OU then evicted Ms. Ramazanova from campus after she shared her request and her granted exemption in a Facebook group, claiming her post to be “collusion or conspiracy” under the OU’s Code of Conduct. Many members of the Facebook group were asking questions on how to best express their sincerely held religious beliefs and receive a religious accommodation.