Policy and Related Information - Religious Observances

It is the policy of St. Cloud State University to make good faith efforts to reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of students, faculty and staff with respect to all academic and other work requirements unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.

Procedure

Students

A.  Reasonable accommodation of religious observances in regard to students includes but is not limited to admissions, extra-curricular activities, class attendance, the scheduling of examinations and other academic work requirements.

B.  A student who is unable because of the observance of a religious holiday to attend classes on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day shall be excused from taking any examination or any study or other academic work assignments on such days or times unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.

C.  It is the responsibility of students to communicate to faculty advance notice of absences to observe religious holidays.  Notice in the first weeks of the course is strongly encouraged.

D.  It is the responsibility of the faculty to make available to such students an equivalent opportunity to make up the examinations, study, or other academic work requirements which students missed due to such absences.

E.  Faculty, staff and university officials will normally accept the sincerity of students’ professed religious beliefs.

F.  If a student and instructor or staff member are unable to reach agreement on accommodation the student should contact someone with supervisory authority over the instructor or staff person who will assist the parties in reaching agreement. 

G.  If a student believes the student has been a victim of discrimination on grounds of religious observances, the student may seek redress by contacting the Office of Equity and Affirmative Action.

University Employees

A.  University employees, including student employees, needing to observe religious holy days normally scheduled as work days shall be entitled to such days off from employment for such observances.   Employees needing to be absent from work due to religious beliefs (or practices) will provide at least three weeks advance notice of such need to the employee’s supervisor.  If, under the circumstances, the employee cannot provide three weeks of advance notice, the employee will provide as much advance notice as reasonably practicable under the circumstances.    

B.  Whenever possible, an employee who is responsible for teaching  a class on a day the employee  has requested to be absent will work with the supervisor to arrange for a substitute teacher.

C.  Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible in the application of this policy and to make reasonable accommodations unless such an accommodation would result in ‘undue hardship’ in the conduct of university business.

D.  The approval of the request for a religious accommodation shall not be dependent upon finding a substitute. 

E. Religious observance days shall be taken without pay except where the employee has accumulated leave, and in that case such days shall be charged against the accumulated leave of the employee or unless the employee is able to work an equivalent time at some other time during the fiscal year to compensate for the time lost. 

F.  The supervisor is responsible for encouraging an atmosphere of cooperation and accommodation among the faculty members within the academic unit in such cases.

G.  Any employee who feels that he or she has been unreasonably denied an educational or employment benefit due to religious beliefs or practices should contact the Office of Equity and Affirmative Action.

Notice

The Office of the Provost will provide, for information, an annual list of dates of the major religious holidays. This list, although not exhaustive, will be available on the St. Cloud State University website.

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