Religious Accommodations in Teaching
The University of Chicago’s Policy on Religious Accommodation for Missed Classes, Assignments, and Exams requires accommodations for students who must miss class, assignments, or exams in observance of religious holidays. Here are ideas for you to consider for accommodating students:
- When creating your syllabus, try to avoid assigning presentations and scheduling exams on major religious or cultural holidays. A list of holidays to assist in planning can be found here.
- You can make students aware of the University of Chicago’s religious accommodation policy either on your syllabus or verbally. Please suggest that they meet with you in office hours to let you know if there are any conflicts. There are certain holidays, like Eid, which are dependent on sightings of the moon; however, in this instance, students should be able to provide a potential range of days. Do not announce to the class why accommodation is being sought.
- Examples of religious accommodations include: rescheduling an exam or giving a make-up exam; altering the time of a student’s presentation; allowing make-up assignments to substitute for missed class work or arranging for an increased flexibility in assignment due dates. Make-up work should be appropriate and not more difficult than the original assignment.
- Make sure students understand that they are responsible for getting any notes or information that was missed as a result of observing a religious holiday.
- Accommodations should never fundamentally alter an essential requirement of the course or academic program.
- Retaliation against students requesting a religious accommodation or participating in a religious accommodation is prohibited.
- Fasting is generally not considered a religious moment that requires accommodation, however, it can be helpful to accommodate the fasting schedule (e.g. avoid scheduling a study session at the time when the Ramadan fast is broken: at sunset).