Seattle Pacific University, a Christian liberal arts college in Washington, announced this month that it will be requiring all students attending the school to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the fall semester begins on September 13, 2021.
Seattle Pacific is the only school within the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) requiring students to be vaccinated, Christianity Today reports.
In a May 7 statement, the university shared that school administrators made this decision in an effort to keep students and the surrounding community safe as they return to in-person instruction.
“As Seattle Pacific University plans to return to in-person instruction, housing, and campus activities for Autumn Quarter 2021, the administration announced on May 7, 2021, that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all undergraduate and graduate students,” the statement on the school’s website says. “A decision about vaccine requirements for employees will be made after further consultation and review of applicable guidance.”
According to Christianity Today, the school will, however, offer medical, disability or religious exemptions.
Students seeking a religious exemption will be required to write a letter explaining why they are seeking the exemption. They must also submit a letter from a pastor or some other religious leader on their behalf. According to administrators, students seeking exceptions are likely to receive them.
Nonetheless, school officials noted that they would like to encourage conversations about vaccinations.
“You want to continue to protect your community as your top priority and then, if there are anomalies to that or exceptions, so be it. We want to take what we think is best for the entire community first and then allow people to dialogue with us, thoughtfully and intelligently,” Nate Mouttet, the vice president for enrollment management and marketing, said.
According to Christianity Today, other schools within the CCCU are “strongly encouraging” students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine but are refraining from requiring it.
According to Westmont College’s vice president of enrollment, marketing and communications, Irene Neller, choosing not to require the vaccine was heavily informed by the potential loss of enrolled students. “It’s financially driven in many regards. State-funded schools can really be black and white. … But a lot of the private, smaller campuses, Christian or secular, just can’t.”
Christianity Today reports that 80 percent of Evangelical colleges’ revenue comes from tuition.
In all, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that, so far, 387 college campuses across the U.S. are requiring vaccinations against COVID-19.
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Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.