Spokane, Wash. (NWN) — Lawyers for former Washington State coach Nick Rolovich sent a letter to the university appealing his firing for refusing to receive a coronavirus vaccine, with school officials conducting a fair process to determine did not decide whether they should receive a religious exemption from the state order that all state employees must be vaccinated.
Attorneys Brian Fehling and Eric Knieffen’s letter to athletic director Pat Chun dismissed Rolovich’s appeal for justified firing.
The letter said Chun reversed a decision by the university’s human resources services to grant Rolovic a religious exemption for the vaccination mandate. Rolovich has stated that he is Catholic. The Catholic Church has not prohibited vaccination against COVID-19.
“This is an opportunity for you to take a step back, re-examine your illegal and unconstitutional conduct, and take a different stance towards Koch Rolovich, before you and the university have to take a federal court civil rights action against you. be compelled to defend the conduct,” the letter said.
Fehling has stated that Rolovich intends to sue over his firing.
Chun did not immediately return messages left by telephone and email on Thursday. A university spokesman said the school would not comment on the letter.
Rollovich completed his application for a religious exemption on 28 September. School officials informed Chun on 6 October that Rolovich was entitled to a religious exemption and that the athletic department needed to decide whether it could be safely continued for Rolovich to serve as chief. Koch, argues the letter.
On October 13, the athletic department responded to Human Resource Services that it could not accommodate Rolovic safely, the letter stated.
Rolovich and four of his assistants were fired on 18 October. Rollovich was the first major college coach to lose his job because of his vaccination status.
Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert was promoted to caretaker coach and the Cougars (5-4) have gone 1-1 since Rolovich was fired. They remain in contention for the Pac-12 North title and one bowl game.
Rolovich, 42, was the highest-paid state employee with an annual salary of over $3 million. He was fired for cause, meaning the university does not have to honor the rest of his contract.
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