Ohio University

A Message Supporting Religious Accommodations for Students, Faculty and Staff

Published: September 12, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Fellow Bobcats,
Ohio University is a diverse academic community that values and celebrates difference. Affirming religious identity and observance are cornerstones of our commitment to diversity. Both are important parts of the University experience for many and shape how we interact with each other and our OHIO campus community as a whole.

To respect and honor the religious diversity within our Bobcat family, Ohio University makes reasonable accommodations for students, staff and faculty whose religious holy days conflict with their work schedules and classroom assignments. Accordingly, absences for religious observance are considered to be University-sanctioned activities within both the Faculty Handbook and Ohio University policy. Consideration and support of all faculty, staff, and students’ personal observance of religious holidays and religious expression is expected throughout the year.
Please visit 
https://www.ohio.edu/diversity/religious-holidays to view OHIO's Guide to Religions, a general reference tool that lists many of the most common religious holidays likely to affect OHIO students, staff, and faculty.

In keeping with Ohio University’s 
Class Attendance Policy, students may ask to be excused from class to observe their specific holiday and request accommodation for class assignments, such as presentations and final exams. Students remain responsible for all assigned work and should notify professors in writing at the beginning of the semester of religious observances that will affect their class work and attendance. We ask that faculty work with such students to provide any make-up work or exams they may miss. In no way shall an observant student be penalized for their absence or rescheduled assignment.

For example, it is best practice not to plan exams or class assignments due on high holidays such as Rosh Hashanah (September 18-20, 2020) and Yom Kippur (September 27-28, 2020) when some students may face significant work restrictions. Please note the high holy days encompass the full 48 hours or 25 hours, respectively, which may include any classes in the evening. 

Likewise, faculty and staff may request time off for personal religious observation and seek supervisors’ support with scheduling or other accommodations. Faculty and staff who require time off for personal religious observance or other religious accommodation are encouraged to share this information with supervisors as soon as possible to facilitate planning and arrangements for make-up work.
Please contact the Office of University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (ECRC) at 740-593-9140 or 
equity@ohio.edu if you have questions or need guidance on issues related to religious observance within the University. 
In Bobcat Pride, 

Elizabeth Sayrs
Executive Vice President and Provost

Gigi Secuban
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Kerri Griffin
Director and Title IX Coordinator, University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance