Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Inslee: WSU coach ‘simply wrong’ in claims of vaccine order

Pullman, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is disputing Nick Rolovich’s statements that Democrats targeted the former Washington State University football coach with his statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all public employees.

Inslee spokesman Mike Faulk said of the coach: “He is wrong,” the spokesperson’s review reported.

It was filed this week in response to Rolovic’s 34-page appeal letter to the university, which argued that athletic director Pat Chun had announced in an August 19 conversation that the governor had “(mandated) coach Rolovic. And WSU had to come after.”

Koch was fired in October for not complying with the governor’s order that all state employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Rolovich, 42, was the highest-paid state employee with an annual salary of more than $3 million in contracts lasting until 2025. Because he was fired for cause, the coach would not be paid the balance of his contract.

Rolovich was denied last month his request for a religious exemption he had sought based on his Catholic beliefs.

The Catholic Church has not banned vaccination against COVID-19, although some Catholics still oppose vaccination. Pope Francis and the American Conference of Catholic Bishops have stated that all COVID-19 vaccines are morally acceptable and that Catholics have a duty, responsibility or obligation to be vaccinated.

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The appeal letter also states that Chun reversed a decision by the university’s human resources services to grant Rolovic a religious exemption for the vaccination mandate.

The appeal states, “Based on the context of Mr. Chun’s statement, Koch Rolovich understood ‘it did’ to mean that Governor Inslee was trying to force Koch Rolovich’s hand with his new mandate, The appeal said, “because he was furious that one of the highest-paid and highest-profile state employees had raised a personal or religious objection to his vaccine mandate.”

Faulk said the state’s goal is to “maximize vaccination to save as many lives as possible, all within the limits of the law that are appropriate.”

“It is not unusual to deny personal exemptions as it pertains to vaccines for deadly and highly contagious viruses. For example, a personal or philosophical exemption (by law) is not allowed for the mumps, measles and rubella vaccines in K-12,” Falk said via email.

A university spokesman said the school would not comment on the appeal letter.

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