Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 56° Partly Cloudy
News >  Higher education

Gonzaga president ‘not yet convinced’ on mandatory COVID-19 vaccines after WSU announces requirement

UPDATED: Thu., April 29, 2021

Gonzaga president Thayne McCulloh address the crowd at a rally for the GU basketball team, April 5, 2017, at the Foley Center.  (Dan Pelle/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Gonzaga president Thayne McCulloh address the crowd at a rally for the GU basketball team, April 5, 2017, at the Foley Center. (Dan Pelle/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh said Thursday he is “not yet convinced” on the idea of a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for the university.

McCulloh outlined his thoughts in a memo to the Gonzaga community Thursday morning, one day after Washington State University announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the upcoming school year.

As part of WSU’s policy, students, volunteers and employees partaking in activities at a university campus or location will need proof of vaccination or an exemption. WSU will allow personal exemptions, meaning those who do not want to get the vaccine don’t have to as long as they obtain approval from the university.

“Although there may be a point where we determine that providing evidence of COVID-19 vaccination must be compulsory,” McCulloh wrote, “I am not yet convinced that introducing a ‘mandatory requirement’ regarding the COVID-19 vaccine is the place to begin, and in fact our levels of voluntary participation have been quite good. We will continue to evaluate the best ways of achieving a sufficient level of immunity within the community and as we do so, will communicate with students and families, as we have throughout the pandemic.”

More than 1,200 members of the Gonzaga community have received the vaccine through on-campus clinics, with “many others” inoculated through other providers, McCulloh said. He said the university will continue encouraging its community to receive the vaccine.

McCulloh was unavailable for comment Thursday.

WSU is the first public college or university in the state of Washington to announce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Locally, Whitworth University remains undecided on the issue.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.