Policies and Resources

Policy on National Holidays and Religious Days of Observance

The College recognizes/observes the following national holidays: Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Thanksgiving and the day after, Labor Day, and New Year’s Day.

The College recognizes that, in addition to these secular holidays, there are religious days of observance that are important to individuals and groups on campus as well and for which students may have observance requirements or unavoidable burdens of travel.

Members of the Christian or Jewish communities may (according to the requirements of their traditions and their personal practice) be restricted from work on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, the first two days of Passover, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. 

In consideration of their significance for many of our students, we ask that faculty take these days and restrictions into account, whenever possible, in preparing their syllabi. Students who observe these religious holy days should be given sufficient advance notice on the syllabus to make alternate arrangements and be afforded 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 days, faculty should take care that students absent at a particular day of observance should not be disadvantaged by being tested on material that was presented in their absence.

The College further recognizes that there are additional religious days of observance that affect the ability of College community members to participate in work, classes, and activities because of specific work and food restrictions associated with those days. Such occasions include, but are not limited to Ramadan, Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, Sukkot, the last two days of Passover, Shavuot, Shemini Atzerat and Simchat Torah, Diwali, as well as Chinese New Year and other days listed in the attached calendar (work and food restrictions are indicated for each day of observance on the calendar). One additional example is for members of the Baha’i faith, who are required to abstain from work on nine days of observance during the year. Accommodations should be made accordingly for students who practice these faiths and others with similar restrictions.

Students and faculty each have responsibilities to the other in negotiating the sometimes conflicting demands of religious observance and academic study. 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. Students who make such arrangements 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. For this reason it is recommended that faculty, whenever possible, inform students of examination dates at the start of each semester. Although it is the student’s responsibility to identify her needs for accommodation in regards to religious practice, we ask all faculty members to create an atmosphere where such a request is welcome.