The following policy regarding student observance of religious holidays was approved by the UIC Senate:
“The faculty of the University of Illinois Chicago shall make every effort to avoid scheduling examinations or requiring that student projects be turned in or completed on religious holidays. Students who wish to observe their religious holidays shall notify the faculty member by the tenth day of the semester of the date when they will be absent unless the religious holiday is observed on or before the tenth day of the semester. In such cases, the students shall notify the faculty member at least five days in advance of the date when they will be absent. In cases when the exact date(s) of the religious holiday is/are not known at the start of the semester, the student should notify the faculty member as soon as the exact date is known. Students should be asked to report if such situations might occur within the first four weeks of the semester. The faculty member shall make every reasonable effort to honor the request, not penalize the student for missing the class, and if an examination or project is due during the absence, give the student an exam or assignment equivalent to the one completed by those students in attendance. If the student feels aggrieved, they may request remedy through the campus grievance procedure.” Last updated on February 2, 2023
Although this policy was adopted to accommodate students’ observances of religious holidays, students must take care not to abuse the policy. It would be unreasonable, for example, for a student to request a two-week absence from classes for religious purposes.
Information concerning specific religious holidays may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs or from Student Development Services.
Guidance for Instructors
- Outline course obligations, dates, and foreseen calendar of examination(s) as early as possible.
- Instruct students to inform you of any conflicts in accordance with the policy detailed below.
- There may be accommodation requests neither dictated by calendar dates nor foreseen at the beginning of the semester as contemplated by the stated Senate Policy. In such cases, students should be informed that they should request an accommodation as soon as they become aware of the need.
- Students should not be required to supply verification of their attendance at religious services in order to qualify for an accommodation.
Students may use the Student Request for Religious Accommodation Form or submit their request to the instructor. Any student may appeal in writing an instructor’s adverse decision to a request based on religious beliefs, observances, and practices to the Office for Access and Equity.
Students seeking a religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement should contact the Office of the Registrar, firstname.lastname@example.org, and request an exemption form. The exemption form may also be found in the Medical Immunization FAQs webpage within the “Exemptions” tab. If you have questions, the Office of the Registrar may be contacted by telephone at (312) 996-4350.
The law requires the University to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employing department. This means the University may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion. This also applies to such things as dress or grooming practices that an employee has for religious reasons. It also includes an employee's observance of a religious prohibition against wearing certain garments.
Examples of some common religious accommodations include:
- flexible scheduling
- voluntary shift substitutions or swaps
- job reassignments
- modifications to workplace policies or practices
- leave for religious observances
- wearing particular head coverings or other religious dress
- wearing certain hairstyles or facial hair
- For Religious Calendar, click here
- Religious Discrimination from U.S. Department of Education
- Workplace Religious Accommodations from U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Higher Education (110 ILCS 110/) University Religious Observances Act from Illinois Compiled Statutes