The following memorandum was sent by the Provost on August 27, 1999, to all academic deans with copies to the Undergraduate Assembly, the Graduate and Professional Students Assembly, and the campus media.
Religious Holiday Policy and Calendar
I would appreciate your reminding students and faculty of the University's policy on Secular and Religious Holidays, a copy of which is below. As you will recall, there are a number of holidays that affect significant numbers of our students that are not formally recognized by the University. Students who wish to observe these holidays must inform their instructors within the first two weeks of each semester so that alternative arrangements can be made; faculty must provide reasonable opportunities for such students to make up missed work and examinations. For this reason, it is desirable that faculty inform students of all examination dates at the start of each semester; it also would be helpful to have them remind the students of the University's policy.
University Policy on Secular and Religious Holidays
(Effective July 1, 1996)
1. No secular or religious holidays are formally recognized by the University's academic calendar. However, in setting the academic calendar for each year, the University does try to avoid obvious conflicts with any holidays that involve most University students, faculty, and staff, such as July 4, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Christmas and New Year's.
2. Other holidays affecting large numbers of University community members include Martin Luther King Day, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the first two days of Passover, and Good Friday. In consideration of their significance for many students, no examinations may be given and no assigned work may be required on these days. Students who observe these holidays will be given an opportunity to make up missed work in both laboratories and lecture courses. If an examination is given on the first class day after one of these holidays, it must not cover material introduced in class on that holiday.
Faculty should realize that Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the evening before the published date of the holiday. Late afternoon exams should be avoided on these days. Also, no examinations may be held on Saturday or Sunday in the undergraduate schools unless they are also available on other days. Nor should seminars or other regular classes be scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays unless they are also available at other times.
3. The University recognizes that there are other holidays, both religious and secular, which are of importance to some individuals and groups on campus. Such occasions include, but are not limited to, Memorial Day, Sukkot, the last two days of Passover, Shavuot, Shemini Atzerat, and Simchat Torah, as well as the Muslim New Year, Ra's al-sana, and the Islamic holidays Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Students who wish to observe such holidays must inform their instructors within the first two weeks of each semester of their intent to observe the holiday even when the exact date of the holiday will not be known until later so that alternative arrangements convenient to both students and faculty can be made at the earliest opportunity. Students who make such arrangements will not be required to attend classes or take examinations on the designated days, and faculty must provide reasonable opportunities for such students to make up missed work and examinations. For this reason it is desirable that faculty inform students of all examination dates at the start of each semester. Exceptions to the requirement of a make-up examination must be approved in advance by the undergraduate dean of the school in which the course is offered.
--Robert Barchi, Provost
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 2, September 7, 1999