Religious observances and related academic policies

Dear Twin Cities faculty and instructors,

I am writing, as we do each semester, to remind you about the potential need to provide accommodations for students observing religious holidays, per the Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences policy.

When planning due dates for major assignments and scheduling exams, please consult the University’s Calendar of Holidays and Religious Observances, which provides an overview of major holidays and religious observances. While not an exhaustive list, please note the following which coincide with days that classes are in session:

  • Ramadan: evening of March 22–evening of April 20, 2023
  • Passover: evening of April 5–evening of April 13, 2023
  • Good Friday: April 7, 2023
  • Orthodox Good Friday: April 14, 2023
  • Eid al-Fitr: April 21–April 22, 2023

These dates serve as a guiding framework and the list is not comprehensive or exclusive. Additionally, please note that not all students will need to miss class for religious observances, that some religious observances occur outside the dates noted on published calendars, and that some observances may require accommodation beyond excusing a missed class period.

For example, students who are fasting during Ramadan might benefit from scheduling flexibility that allows any exams to be taken at a time of day determined by the student. Similarly, students observing Passover are prohibited from studying during the first and last two days of the holiday, and therefore may need extra time to complete assignments or prepare for exams.

It is important to remember that students, staff, and faculty within the same faith or culture may nevertheless have different traditions and observances, and I therefore ask you to consult individually with any student who requests an accommodation rather than make general assumptions.

The University is committed to ensuring that all students can practice their faith without negatively affecting their education. Please convey this commitment to your students, both in your syllabus and in class, and encourage students to contact you individually if accommodations are needed. If you have specific questions about how to provide accommodations, please review these Frequently Asked Questions or contact the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office at 612-624-9547 or [email protected].

Thank you for your work to create an inclusive learning environment for our students.

Sincerely yours,

Rachel T.A. Croson
Executive Vice President and Provost

email sent March 24, 2023 to all Twin Cities faculty and instructors scheduled to teach spring semester 2023