Campus Life

Students, faculty and staff reminded of religious observance absence policies

The Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on Penn State's University Park campus. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State recognizes that the right of students to participate in religious observance is a fundamental element of diversity and inclusion. As part of this commitment, students, faculty and staff are reminded of Penn State's policies regarding students' requests for absence from class for the purpose of observing a religious holiday.

The University Faculty Senate Policy on Class Attendance (42-27) reminds instructors to provide, within reason, opportunity to make up work for students who are obliged to miss classes for legitimate, unavoidable reasons, such as illness, injury, military service, family emergency, or religious observance.

In addition, the Academic Administrative Policy on Religious Holidays (R-4) reminds the community that while the University makes every effort to avoid conflicts with religious holidays, when conflicts are unavoidable, reasonable accommodations should be made for affected students.

Students anticipating such absences are asked to make plans with their instructors at the beginning of each semester. Students who miss class are still responsible for all work covered in the courses taken, and it is the student’s responsibility to complete work early, or make alternate arrangements with the course instructor, if due dates or required work will be missed because of a University-approved absence as described in this policy.

In consultation with campus and community religious leaders, Penn State’s Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development on the University Park campus has compiled a listing of those holy days of the major world religions for which observance may require a student to depart from their normal routine at the University. This is not an exhaustive list of all holy days in each religious tradition. The list is available on the center's website.

Last Updated August 24, 2021