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Faculty resources for understanding religious observances

Vice president Georgina Dodge sent this message to faculty, staff and graduate assistants on September 9, 2022:

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to you today because one of our stated campus priorities is to be an inclusive, multicultural campus, and I want to provide some resources to you as you navigate requests for religious observances.

As classes resume, we remind instructors that important religious holidays may result in student absences. Expectations for faculty and student attendance are available at the Office of Faculty Affairs website, and students are informed about attendance policies. Course syllabi should let students know about attendance policies and excused absences, and students are required to inform instructors of a religious observance within the first two weeks of the semester.

To help with the scheduling of exams or other significant activities, our campus chaplains have compiled a calendar that includes the most widely observed holidays for select religious groups. Please note that this abbreviated calendar may not include all holidays someone may observe, but we hope that sharing this calendar resource generates productive conversations about religious observances and helps us take steps to be more inclusive.

It is important for all of us to remember that religious holiday observances may impact event participation across campus by faculty and staff, as well as students. We should all be mindful of scheduling important events in the most inclusive manner possible, acknowledging that timing may sometimes present challenges. By being considerate of each others’ needs and observances, we can be an inclusive, multicultural campus.

Sincerely,

Dr. Georgina Dodge (she/her)

Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion