Religious Observances

PDAD&C #17, 2006-07

MEMORANDUM

To: Principals, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairs
From: Vivek Goel, Vice-President and Provost
Date: September 20, 2006
Re: Accommodations for Religious Observances


I am writing to remind you of the University’s commitment and policy concerning the scheduling of classes and examinations and other accommodation for religious observances, and to ask you to communicate broadly what is expected of faculty and students in this respect.

The University’s expectations on this matter are articulated in the Policy on Scheduling of Classes and Examinations and Other Accommodations for Religious Observances. The policy is available via the Provost’s web site at http://www.provost.utoronto.ca/English/Other-University-Policies.html.

As noted in the Policy, the University welcomes and includes students, staff and faculty from a wide range of backgrounds, cultural traditions and spiritual beliefs. The Policy includes the following provisions:

It is the policy of the University of Toronto to arrange reasonable accommodation of the needs of students who observe religious holy days other than those already accommodated by ordinary scheduling and statutory holidays.

Students have a responsibility to alert members of the teaching staff in a timely fashion to upcoming religious observances and anticipated absences. Instructors will make every reasonable effort to avoid scheduling tests, examinations or other compulsory activities at these times. If compulsory activities are unavoidable, every reasonable 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.

It is most important that no student be seriously disadvantaged because of her or his religious observances. However, in the scheduling of academic and other activities, it is also important to ensure that the accommodation of one group does not seriously disadvantage other groups within the University community.

The following are examples of requests that students may make to be excused from classes or examinations: Holy Days; on Fridays at 1:00 p.m. for Muslim community prayers; or on the Jewish Sabbath (one-and a-half hours before sunset Friday to one-and-a-half hours after sunset Saturday).

Many of the relevant dates for this academic year (2006-07) and the next academic year (2007-08) are outlined in the tables appended below. Please note that most of the dates for this academic year were initially circulated in September 2005 (see PDAD&C #14, 2005-06.

These dates are provided to assist instructors and those planning academic activities to anticipate when students might choose to seek accommodations for religious observances. It is also important to note that there are many holy days associated with various faiths and that the absence of such dates on this list should not be interpreted to mean that there should be no accommodation for students who observe those holy days. Finally, some observances are based on an interpretation of the lunar calendar, and thus may vary by one or two days depending upon the interpretation relevant to a student’s faith tradition.

For assistance in interpreting the Policy and for support in the development of divisional or departmental procedures which are consistent with the Policy, please contact Jim Delaney, Associate Director and Senior Policy Advisor in Student Affairs at 416-978-4027 or jim.delaney@utoronto.ca.

For assistance in devising reasonable accommodations for religious observances and Holy Days, please contact Nouman Ashraf, Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Officer at 416-978-1259 or nouman.ashraf@utoronto.ca.

The dates in the above table can be downloaded into UTORschedule CorporateTime personal calendars. This facility will help to avoid the scheduling of meetings for those who may be unavailable because of religious observances. The instructions for adding the dates to a personal calendar are available at http://www.utoronto.ca/ns/utorschedule/observances.html. If you have any questions about downloading into CorporateTime, please contact Computing & Network Services at 978-4357 [978-HELP].

Please note that Simchat Torah has been added to the 2006-07 table. As it was not included when the dates were originally circulated in September 2005, we recommend that you copy this date from the new table and paste it into your calendar manually. This will avoid duplication for those who already added the dates to their personal calendars, using CorporateTime last year.

Some Dates of Potential Relevance for the U of T Community – 2006-07

 



September 2006 to June 2007

Rosh Hashanah

Begins at sunset on Friday September 22, 2006 and ends at nightfall on Sunday September 24, 2006

Ramadan*

Saturday September 23, 2006 or Sunday September 24, 2006 to Sunday October 22, 2006 or Monday October 23, 2006. Muslims may fast from dawn to dusk, abstaining from food and drink. Examinations scheduled in the evening may pose a special burden.

Yom Kippur

Begins at sunset on Sunday October 1, 2006 and ends at nightfall on Monday October 2, 2006

Sukkot

Begins at sunset on Friday October 6, 2006 and the second day ends at nightfall on Sunday October 8, 2006

Simhat Torah

Begins at sunset on Saturday October 14th and ends at nightfall on Sunday October 15th

Diwali (Deepavali)

Saturday October 21, 2006

Eid-al-Fitr

Monday October 23, 2006 and Tuesday October 24, 2006

Hanukkah

Begins at sunset on Friday, December 15th and ends at nightfall on Saturday December 23, 2006

Eid-al-Adha

Friday December 29, 2006 to Sunday December 31, 2006

Feast of the Nativity

Sunday January 7, 2007

Lunar New Year

Sunday February 18, 2007

First two days of Passover

Begins at sunset on Monday April 2, 2007 and ends at nightfall on Wednesday April 4, 2007

Last two days of Passover

Begins at sunset on Sunday April 8, 2007 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday April 10, 2007

Holy Friday (Orthodox)

Friday April 6, 2007

Easter (Orthodox)

Sunday April 8, 2007

Shavuot

Begins at sunset on Tuesday May 22, 2007 and ends at nightfall on Thursday May 24, 2007

* Some observances are based on the lunar calendar, and thus may vary by one or two days. August 2006 / Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office

Some Dates of Potential Relevance for the U of T Community – 2007-08

 


September 2007 to June 2008

Rosh Hashanah

Begins at sunset on Wednesday September 12, 2007 and ends at nightfall on Friday September 14, 2007

Ramadan*

Wednesday September 12, 2007 or Thursday September 13, 2007 to Thursday October 11, 2007 or Friday October 12, 2007. Muslims may fast from dawn to dusk, abstaining from food and drink. Examinations scheduled in the evening may pose a special burden.

Yom Kippur

Begins at sunset on Friday September 21, 2007 and ends at nightfall on Saturday September 22, 2007

Sukkot

Begins at sunset on Wednesday September 26, 2007 and the second day ends at nightfall on Friday September 28, 2007

Simhat Torah

Begins at sunset on Thursday October 4, 2007 and ends at nightfall on Friday October 5, 2007

Diwali (Deepavali)

Friday November 9, 2007

Eid-al-Fitr

Friday October 12, 2007 and Saturday October 13, 2007

Hanukkah

Begins at sunset on Tuesday December 4, 2007 and ends at nightfall on Wednesday December 12, 2007

Feast of the Nativity

Monday January 7, 2008

Eid-al-Adha

Thursday December 20, 2007

Lunar New Year

Thursday February 7, 2008

First two days of Passover

Begins at sunset on Saturday April 19, 2008 and ends at nightfall on Monday April 21, 2008

Last two days of Passover

Begins at sunset on Friday April 25, 2008 and ends at nightfall on Sunday April 27, 2008

Holy Friday (Orthodox)

Friday April 25, 2008

Easter (Orthodox)

Sunday April 27, 2008

Shavuot

Begins at sunset on Sunday June 8, 2008 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday June 10, 2008

* Some observances are based on the lunar calendar, and thus may vary by one or two days. August 2006 / Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office