Accommodation for Religious Observances
PDAD&C #18, 2002-2003
M E M O R A N D U M
|TO:||Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs|
|FROM:||Shirley Neuman, Vice-President and Provost|
|DATE:||October 8, 2002|
|RE:||Accommodation for Religious Observances|
I am writing to remind you of the University's policy concerning the scheduling of classes and examinations, and the accommodation for religious observances. The religious observances of the major Christian denominations are recognized through ordinary University scheduling and statutory holidays. It is the University's policy to make every effort to accommodate students, staff and faculty who observe other religious Holy Days.
The Governing Council resolution stipulates that no examination should be scheduled "on the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah or on Yom Kippur or on the first two days and the last two days of Passover". It also states that "the first day of classes in the fall term in all teaching divisions should not be scheduled on the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah or on Yom Kippur". This resolution is interpreted to apply to the first day of classes in any given course and not only to the first day of the autumn term. Sessional dates and schedules should be set in such a way as to avoid the necessity of canceling classes without make up.
While the Governing Council resolution makes no special provision for the Holy Days of other faiths, it is most important that no student be seriously disadvantaged because of her or his religious observances. Students may wish to be excused from classes or examinations for religious reasons on Holy Days other than those provided for in the Governing Council resolution, or on the Jewish Sabbath (one-and-a-half hours before sunset Friday to one-and-a-half hours after sunset Saturday), or on Fridays at 1:00 p.m. for Muslim community prayers. It is assumed that every effort will be made to avoid tests, examinations or other compulsory activities at these times. If compulsory activities are unavoidable, every opportunity should be given to these students to make up work that they miss, particularly in courses involving laboratory work. When the scheduling of tests or examinations cannot be avoided, students should be informed of the procedure to be followed to arrange to write at an alternate time.
The relevant dates for the remainder of this academic year and the next year follow. For more information regarding religious observances and Holy Days, you may contact the Office of Student Affairs, at 978-5536.
Note: Some observances are based on the lunar calendar, and thus may vary by one or two days.