New policy on religious accommodation for students

March 26, 2018

To: Faculty, Academic Appointees, and Students
From: Melissa Gilliam, Vice Provost for Academic Leadership, Advancement, and Diversity, and Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Subject: New policy on religious accommodation for students
Date: March 26, 2018

As part of the University of Chicago’s ongoing commitment to foster a diverse and inclusive campus community, we are pleased to inform you of the Policy on Religious Accommodation for Missed Classes, Assignments and Exams, a new policy that permits accommodations for students who must miss class, assignments and exams in observance of religious holidays. Though a secular institution, the University values and respects diverse spiritual expression and practice. This new policy, which is effective immediately, enables students to observe religious holidays without compromising their academic status.

Developed in conjunction with a faculty committee and reviewed by the Committee of the Council and the Council of the Senate, the new policy states that students who miss class, assignments, or exams to observe a religious holiday must be accommodated as follows: (i) absences may not be counted as a missed class in any course in which attendance is a measure of academic performance; (ii) reasonable extensions of time must be given, without academic penalty, for missed assignments; and (iii) exams must be reasonably rescheduled without academic penalty.

When a religious holiday occurs during the first week of the quarter, students who miss the first meeting of a class due to religious observance may not be dropped from the course roster, provided that they have given advance notice in writing to the instructor of record – preferably at the beginning of the quarter.

To learn more about this policy and its requirements, please refer to the Faculty Handbook or the Student Manual. Should you have any questions, please contact Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University at

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