Religious Observance Policy

Interim Religious Observance Policy - August 10, 2010

1. Students must be allowed a minimum of two excused absences each academic year for religious observances. Students are responsible for requesting excused absences for religious observances required by the faith of a student. Instructors are responsible for complying with this requirement. In classes in which attendance is taken and/or penalties are applied for student absences, instructors must document their compliance with the religious observance policy by tracking student excused absences for religious observances.

2. For purposes of this policy, the term "religious observances" shall include religious holidays or holy days or similar observances required by a student's religion and that require absence from class.

3. Students must be afforded the opportunity to make up tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance.

4. Except in extraordinary circumstances, student requests for excused absences for religious observances must be submitted to instructors in writing no later than three weeks after the first class day of the term.

5. This policy on excused absences for religious observances must be referenced on all course syllabi.

6. This policy supersedes one part of Faculty Handbook section 5.5.1.1, which reads: "In addition, faculty members are encouraged to make reasonable accommodations for students requesting to miss class due to the observance of religious holidays."

7. This policy amplifies another part of Faculty Handbook section 5.5.1.1, which reads: "Faculty, at their discretion, may include class attendance as a criterion in determining a student's final grade in the course. On the first day of class, faculty must inform students of their class attendance policy and the effect of that policy on their final grade; both policies must be clearly stated in the class syllabus."

8. This policy also amplifies Faculty Handbook section 5.5.1.2, which reads: "A syllabus is to be prepared for each course and distributed at the first of the semester. The syllabus should include the following: an explanation of course goals and objectives, the name of the text and any other materials required of each student, the instructor's office hours, an explanation of how the grade is to be determined, and an explanation of any additional reading, papers, projects and examination which the instructor expects to give or assign."