WSU Regents discuss ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs regarding vaccine exemptions | Local

PULLMAN — Washington State University Regents heard an update this morning on the institution’s response to the governor’s vaccination mandate for higher education workers.

The Regents Strategic and Operational Excellence Committee received a report from campus health officials. Gov. Jay Inslee is demanding that most state employees get a coronavirus shot, have a religious or medical exemption, or be fired. His deadline to comply is October 18.

Religious exemption should be considered a religious belief “sincerely held” to not get vaccinated. Regents Chair Marty Dickinson asked WSU Emergency Operations Project Manager Hailey Rupp what that means.

“It’s a subjective thing, it’s hard to determine,” Rupp said. “There are questions about whether veganism counts as a religious belief.”

President Dickinson then appeared to indirectly address the situation with WSU head football coach Nick Rolovich. Rolovich announced that he would not be vaccinated but would comply with the governor’s mandate. “It is unfortunate that our brand is tainted at this time by decisions that are not aligned with where the university is going and the steps we have taken,” Dickinson said.

Ruth R. Culp