Ocean City, NJ soccer standout abandons RU over vax mandate
For Faith Slimmer, it was a dream come true. The soccer standout from Ocean City was headed to play at Division 1 Rutgers. She actually gave a verbal commitment when she was in eighth grade.
But you wont see Slimmer in a Scarlet Knight's uniform when the new season kicks off.
The recent graduate of Ocean City High School has withdrawn her commitment to play at Rutgers because of their mandate that all students must be fully vaccinated. The 18-year-old told the Press of Atlantic City it should be her choice to get vaccinated, "If I don’t want to get it, I don’t think I should be forced into it.”
No one in Slimmer's family is vaccinated, not her parents or her younger sisters. The reasons why vary but are largely for religious reasons.
While Rutgers does offer a religious exemption for students, Slimmer did not apply for one. She says there were too many questions about the impact of non-vaccination status on team travel and a decision on her eligibility for an exemption could have taken months.
Slimmer will now play for Div 1 rival College of Charleston. The South Carolina school is only recommending that all students be vaccinated, not requiring it. A spokesman for Rutgers University told New Jersey 101.5 they would not comment on Slimmer’s decision.
The issue of mandatory vaccinations on college campuses has been a topic of heated debate. Rutgers was the first school in the nation to announce a mandate. Hundreds of students protested the decision.
In the first challenge to higher education vaccination mandates, a federal judge upheld Indiana University's mask and vaccination policy for students.
Kean University announced this week that students who cannot prove they are vaccinated, would be de-registered.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story should have said that the player is from Ocean City, N.J.