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Religious Observance

Religious Observance | Registrar | York University

The Senate Policy on Sessional Dates and the Scheduling of Examinations (Section 7.0) states, in part, that:

York University is committed to respecting the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the community and making accommodations for observances of special significance.

Efforts are made by the University to avoid scheduling formal or in-class examinations on days of religious significance which require an absence from the University or prohibit or require certain activities that would make participation in course activities unfeasible. A list of Commonly Observed Dates of Religious Significance will be compiled annually. There are many holy days associated with various faiths, and the absence of such dates on this list should not be interpreted to mean that accommodation will not be provided to students who observe those days. Students will be informed of procedures for requesting and arranging accommodations.

The list of Commonly Observed Dates of Religious Significance is posted on the Registrar's Office website.

Religious Accommodation Guidelines: Final Examinations

Students who have a conflict between a religious commitment and the scheduled date of an examination in either of the December or April formal examination periods must request an alternative date to write the final exam. Using the Religious Accommodation Agreement students contact the course director no later than 21 days prior to the start of the examination period to arrange an alternate examination date. Failure to meet the deadline may result in a denial of the request. The instructor will process requests expeditiously to avoid an academic disadvantage to the student. Completed Agreement forms are submitted to the department offering the course.

In cases where an arrangement between the student and course instructor cannot be made, or if the student is uncomfortable approaching the instructor to request a religious accommodation, the student should contact the Associate Dean of the Faculty in which the course is offered. Students are required to contact the Associate Dean not less than 14 days prior to the start of the examination period. Failure to meet the deadline may result in a denial of the request.

Guided by the student's particular circumstance, the forms of accommodations provided by the Associate Dean may include:

  1. Treating the request as a conflict and accommodating it within the examination period, or
  2. Scheduling a deferred examination as close to the original examination date as possible

Religious Accommodation Guidelines: Term Work/Course Components other than Final Examinations

Students seeking accommodations under the terms of this policy may do so in order to reschedule the date of:

  • a test
  • submission of an assignment
  • any other required form of course evaluation (such as labs or presentations)

Students are responsible for making a formal request (in person or in writing) to their instructor(s) for accommodation within 14 days of the date for which accommodation is sought. If the day of religious significance occurs within 14 days of the start of a term, the student shall contact the course director at the earliest opportunity to request accommodation.

Normally the forms of accommodation provided by the course instructor will be to:

  1. re-schedule the evaluation to an alternative date
  2. provide an alternative evaluation for satisfying the course requirement (including a common date for the class for all deferred tests / mid-term examinations)
  3. provide an alternative assignment for satisfying the course requirement

In exceptional circumstances, re-calculating the evaluation scheme in a course to eliminate the component that has been missed may be determined to be the most appropriate accommodation for individual students. Consistent with the Guideline that the essential learning outcomes of a course must be satisfied (Section II a), no component worth more than 20% may be re-weighted within the grading scheme.

If a course instructor and a student are unable to agree on the form of accommodation, the request will be referred to the Associate Dean to determine the form of accommodation consistent with these Guidelines / Principles and Procedures.

You can find the current list of Commonly Observed Dates of Religious Significance online.

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