Religious Accomodation Form

Religious Observance at Wellesley College:

Our community’s principles of equity and inclusion undergird the college’s policy on religious holidays, ensuring that students do not have to choose between important religious observances and academic, athletic, or extracurricular commitments.

The Religious Observance Notification Form allows students to select from a number of common religious and spiritual holy days for the current semester. When students use the form, their instructors will receive automatic notifications of anticipated absences and/or work or food restrictions. This form does not take the place of students following up with their instructors to discuss and make arrangements for any work they may miss during their observance. 

Students who intend to observe any religious holy day in a manner that necessitates missing class or work assignments should inform their instructors within the first two weeks of each semester of their intent (even when the exact date of the day will not be known until later) so that alternative arrangements convenient to both students and faculty can be made at the earliest opportunity.

 

Religious Observance Notification:

To notify an instructor of a religious observance students must:

  1. Complete a Religious Observance Notification Form for each day of observance within the Drop-Add period for every semester. If a religious observance falls over several consecutive days, students must select all days on the notification form.

  2. Indicate the type of accommodations needed. Students will be given an email template to edit indicating if they will be absent from class and/or require other accommodations.

  3. Speak with their instructors to make alternative arrangements for any missed coursework.

 

Religious Accommodations:

Students who notify instructors of their religious observances should not be required to attend classes or take examinations on the designated days, and faculty should make every effort to provide reasonable opportunities for such students to make up missed work and examinations. Although it is students’ responsibility to identify their needs for accommodation connected to religious practice, we ask all faculty members to create an atmosphere where such requests are welcome. Whenever possible, faculty should inform students of examinations and other important dates at the start of each semester in order to facilitate planning. Adopting these suggested strategies will ensure that respect for our students’ diverse faith traditions is woven into course design.
 

RAMADAN RELIGIOUS PRACTICE: The start and end dates depend on sighting the new moon, which can vary by 1-2 days depending on location and individual communities. Students might start the month on a date chosen by their individual communities. During this month, Muslims complete one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith by fasting from twilight to sunset. They abstain from all food and drink, including water, for approximately 15 hours. Iftar time (breaking the fast at sunset) shifts throughout the month. In addition, Muslims participate in late-night prayers and dedicate time to reading the whole Quran. The religious obligations in Ramadan mean that Muslims often try to find time to catch up on sleep during the day, if possible. 

Faculty are encouraged to consider reasonable accommodations for students when possible: 

● Allow the student to take an exam before Ramadan starts 

● Allow the student to take an exam at a different time during the day 

● Consider that fasting can impact a student’s energy level and participation in class. This is not a reflection on the student’s dedication to your course

PASSOVER RELIGIOUS PRACTICE: The celebration of Passover is kicked off with two evenings during which the religious ritual known as a seder is conducted. Many students may travel home to be with family during this time. The first two days and final two days have specific work restrictions which may preclude students’ ability to attend class, complete homework, and even respond to emails. Passover has strict food restrictions (no grains or leavened products are eaten for the 8 days of the holiday).

EASTER RELIGIOUS PRACTICE: The week leading up to Easter, Holy Week, begins on the preceding Sunday, known as Palm Sunday, and continues through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Saturday evening Easter Vigil. Students may be attending services throughout this week. It is customary not to work on the afternoon of Good Friday (as a symbol of mourning). Additionally, many students may travel to join their families for Easter dinners.

 

For more information, please contact our office.

 

Links:

Student Religious Observance Notification Form

Faculty Summary of Religious Observances

Contact: The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life | Billings 2nd floor | ORSL@wellesley.edu | 781.283.2685