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Religious accommodations in the classroom

Submitted by Kris Boone,

From the Provost's office: Our inclusive environment allows for religious expression. Faculty are expected to work with students to reasonably accommodate their religious obligations and observances. Examples of religious accommodations can include, but are not limited to, rescheduling an exam or presentation, or flexibility in due dates or research responsibilities. If concerns arise about a requested accommodation, faculty members should consult their department head for assistance.

An individual’s request for time off from school activities to accommodate religious needs, observances, and practices is reasonable unless university operations would suffer unduly by granting the individual’s request. 

Instructors are expected to provide information about how absences will be managed to students during the first week of classes (both orally and within the syllabus). It is the student’s responsibility to present, at the earliest possible date, a request for the required absence to each instructor whose class is to be missed. Students who know they will require a religious accommodation, but who may not know the date of the religious observance, should ideally communicate with their instructors about this possible need at the start of the semester, although a later request, if feasible and agreed upon, should not bar the student from receiving the reasonable accommodations.

The University Interfaith Council has a helpful religious holiday calendar to promote awareness and understanding of observances. This year, Ramadan — the Islamic month observed through fasting, prayer and reflection — coincides with final exams. Please consider student requests related to their finals schedules. For more information regarding the make-up exam policy, contact