46°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Student denied emergency stay in UNR vaccination mandate lawsuit

RENO — A University of Nevada, Reno, student who argues he’s immune from COVID-19 because he was previously infected has lost his bid for an emergency court order that would have allowed him to register for classes while his presses his federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the college’s mandatory vaccination policy.

A U.S district judge from California who was reassigned to the case last week said in denying the temporary restraining order sought by 18-year-old Jacob Gold that he’s failed to establish a fundamental constitutional right to refuse vaccination.

University officials “are attempting to protect a campus community with thousands of students, faculty and staff from a deadly infectious disease,” Judge James V. Selna said.

“This far outweighs any harm Gold may face in choosing between receiving a medically approved vaccination or receiving his education in an alternative manner,” he wrote in the ruling issued late Friday.

Gold claims that because he recovered from COVID-19, he has immunity superior to students who’ve been vaccinated and it is statistically impossible for a shot to benefit him.

The “immoral, unethical and illegal policy” violates his “right” of self-determination, personal autonomy and bodily integrity, as well as the right to reject medical treatment,” according to his lawsuit filed last month. If the policy is allowed to stand, he’ll be required to be vaccinated to meet his academic requirements, “congregate in the dorm where he lives and exist normally as a healthy and wholesome college student here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

His emergency request filed Nov. 19 said the court needed to step in now because the first day of spring classes is Jan. 18 and the availability of required courses is limited. Otherwise, he said he’ll have to drop out of college or agree to take only online courses.

But the judge said he’s unlikely to prevail in his argument that subjecting himself to testing would violate his constitutional protections.

“Nasal swab testing for COVID-19 does not create an intrusion under the skin, does not involve any genetic testing and there is no use of the sample for law enforcement purposes,” the ruling states.

Selna was assigned the case last week from the central district of California after all but one of the 11 judges serving in the U.S. district for Nevada recused themselves from the case.

University President Brian Sandoval is the lead defendant. He was a federal judge in Reno from 2005-09 before serving two terms as Republican governor.

One of Gold’s lawyers is Joey Gilbert, a former professional boxer and Reno defense attorney who is running for Nevada’s GOP gubernatorial nomination. He has aligned himself with backers of ex-President Donald Trump and says he was in Washington, D.C., outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot.

None of the judges who recused themselves offered any specific reasons. Federal court records state only that they had “good cause.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Raiders give Super Bowl LVI tickets to Las Vegas principal

The Raiders selected the elementary school principal to reward him for stepping in as a substitute teacher and doing janitorial work, among other things, during the pandemic.

 
$4M in scholarships available, mostly for Clark County students

Awards through the Public Education Foundation’s Scholarships Plus program range from $250 to $20,000 per year. High school seniors, college students can apply through Jan. 31.

UNR President Sandoval defends in-person classes amid surge

University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval is defending his decision to begin the spring semester with mostly in-person classes in the face of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

CCSD students, staff return to schools as ‘pause’ ends

Clark County School District campuses reopen Wednesday with more than 1,000 employees cleared to return to work following a “pause” caused by a COVID-19-related staffing shortage.

 
Have a ‘Big Idea’ to improve education in Nevada? $500K could be yours

The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and the Engelstad Foundation will give winners of a three-phased contest up to $500,000 to solve one question: “Who has an idea for improving Nevada’s educational landscape?”

 
Health officials say CCSD ‘pause’ will help district recover

The Clark County School District’s five-day pause, which includes two canceled school days, began Friday due to “extreme staffing shortages” spurred by a surge of COVID-19 cases.

 
CCSD adjusts times for 2022-23 school year to improve busing

The Clark County School District announced Friday it will change start and end times at more than half of its campuses next school year. Most are an adjustment of less than 30 minutes.

Nevada to reap $1.05M in settlement over predatory student loans

A major student loan collecting company agreed to cancel $1.7 billion in debt and pay over $140 million in other penalties to settle allegations of abusive lending practices.