Local Colleges Oppose Immunization Bill

Harvard Leads Fight Against State Legislation

Representatives of several area colleges, including Harvard, will meet today with state lawmakers to voice concern over a proposed bill which would make it illegal for them to admit students who do not provide proof of measles and other immunizations.

The legislation, introduced by the state Department of Public Health, stands a good chance of passing in light of the recent measles outbreak at Boston University, Boston College and MIT, Richard J. Doherty '76, director of state affairs, said yesterday.

Doherty said the bill would place too much responsibility on the colleges, adding that its wording is based closely on a law which requires Massachusetts public schools to admit only immunized students.

Doherty said the bill would place too much responsibility on the colleges, adding that its wording is based closely on a law which requires Massachusetts public schools to admit only immunized students.

The Boston area colleges will request that students themselves be responsible for their immunization, shifting the legal responsibility to individuals. In addition, they will suggest that only students who eventually matriculate at Massachusetts colleges be required to prove immunization, thereby narrowing the number of students affected by the law.

Members of the Senate Health Committee and Department of Public Health officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Harvard "would not mind a certain amount of administrative burden that would make Harvard a safer, healthier place," and will support the bill if amended, Doherty said.

He declined to speculate on the potential cost to the University if the bill passed unamended, saying the law would be unworkable due to confusion over legal responsibility.

The group is optimistic that the committee will accept its recommendations, according to Doherty. "There is enough of a demand for a bill of this kind that we should be able to make it something implementable."