The Washington Legislature is considering a bill that significantly overextends religious accommodations at colleges and universities.
The bill, SB 5166, requires that “instructors much accept at face value the sincerity of the students’ religious beliefs,” removes a limit of two days per academic year for religious holidays, and states that colleges “must make alternative accommodations for a student when a student’s sincerely held religious belief or practice materially impacts the student’s ability to perform on an examination or meet a requirement to successfully complete a program.”
While this bill is intended to require religious accommodations, it goes much too far and extends unfettered religious privilege to students. If this bill passes, a student could presumably fabricate a religious reason to avoid classes, papers, or exams, and colleges would be required by law to accept that belief “at face value” and to cater to the made-up religious objection. SB 5166 has already passed the state Senate and now it is up to the House to stop it.
Please use our automated system to contact the members of the House Rules Committee and ask that they vote “no” on this bill, which blindly grants free reign to religious students with no apparent accountability.