Observance of Religious Holidays and Absences from Classes and/or Exams


The University of Colorado at Boulder has a legal and moral obligation to accommodate all students who must be absent from classes or miss scheduled exams in order to observe religious holidays; we must be careful not to inhibit or penalize these students for exercising their rights to religious observance.

Religious Obligations – Conflicts with Scheduled Exams, Assignments or Class Attendance

Teaching faculty shall make every effort to accommodate all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments, or other required attendance, provided they notify you well in advance of the scheduled conflict. Whenever possible, students should notify faculty at least two weeks in advance of the conflict to request special accommodation. Faculty members should always include precise instructions regarding their own policies for these special accommodations in their syllabus and they should call attention to the requirement for early, timely arrangements. If an exam is scheduled on a religious holiday, the faculty member must provide a suitable option for the affected students. Examples of suitable accommodations include: (1) creating a course policy in which all students are allowed to drop an exam or assignment score for any accepted reason, specifically including religious holiday observance as one of those reasons, or (2) providing the opportunity for a makeup exam or an equivalent assignment, or (3) allowing extra-credit assignments to substitute for missed class work, or (4) arranging for an increased flexibility in assignment due dates, etc. Other reasonable and appropriate accommodations may be made by the course instructor. If class attendance is required, classes missed to observe a religious holiday should not be counted as an absence. The specific accommodations employed may vary from course to course depending upon factors such as the size of the class, nature of the course content, and mode of instruction. All faculty in all courses are expected to create a class-specific accommodation policy which strives to maintain a climate of essential fairness to all members of the class.

In the event that students are somewhat tardy in informing faculty of their religious observance obligations, faculty should try to accommodate them where practical. Please announce the specifics of your class policy to students and include it as part of the course syllabus so that they can notify you of any conflicts as soon as possible.

Appeals Procedure

If the student and the course instructor cannot agree on an accommodation, the student may bring the matter to the Department Chair for a decision. If there is still no agreement, the student may bring the matter to the school or college dean's office, where a final, binding decision will be made.

Date: April 2002
Approved by: Chancellor Richard Byyny; Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Phil DiStefano; Boulder Faculty Assembly, Uriel Nauenberg, Chair.

Policy Type: 
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