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Augsburg University Religious Holiday Policy and Procedure

As an academic community, Augsburg University embraces the Network of ELCA Colleges & Universities’ (NECU) mission to be “rooted” and “open” so that all may flourish. This necessitates that we regularly reassess the familiar and consider new options. A community of caring mentors and colleagues makes possible each student’s intellectual growth, personal maturation, and vocational discernment.  The following policy and procedure for the observance of recognized holy days is consistent with the university’s mission.

Policy

In recognition that observance of recognized religious holidays may affect students’ classroom attendance and the submission of graded work in courses, Augsburg University accommodates  religious observances and holidays of diverse religious traditions.  This policy reflects the university’s commitment to being responsive to our students’ diverse religious beliefs and to encourage students’ spiritual development. In accordance with the policy, students who miss class to observe a religious holiday are required to make prior arrangements with individual instructors for how any work missed during an absence will be completed. Absence from class due to observance of a religious holiday is normally excused according to university policy; however, students are expected to make up the work they miss, and the University understands that there may be extenuating circumstances, specific to a particular course, that make it difficult or impossible for a faculty member to grant such a request. 

Faculty are encouraged to consider recognized religious holidays when establishing course deadlines and assigning course work and to support students in their religious practices by observing this policy.  To support faculty in accommodating the religious practices and commitments of our students, Augsburg has established procedures to be followed by students: students are responsible for notifying their instructors of a planned absence due to an observance and/or holiday.  

Procedure

The religious holiday observance notification procedure is based on the assumption and expectation that students will act in accordance with the Augsburg University Honor Code. The procedure and subsequent guidelines for students missing class to observe religious holidays are as follows:

 

  • Students are expected to formally notify their instructors at least two weeks in advance that they will miss class in order to observe a religious holiday. Students are to complete the Religious Observance Notification Form.
  • The Religious Observance Notification Form must be submitted online.  It is routed to the faculty member  faculty member and the University Pastors in the Campus Ministry Office.  Should either of these parties raise questions about the request, they will contact the student or the faculty member’s academic dean.
  • This procedure can only be used to notify an instructor of an absence from class necessitated by observance on a religious holiday. 
  • Students are required to make prior arrangements with individual instructors for completion of any work missed during an absence.
  • Students are encouraged to file their Religious Observance Notification Form as early in the semester or term as possible, but must submit it no later than two weeks prior to the religious holiday to ensure that instructors make every effort to accommodate the request.  Instructors have no obligation to honor requests made within two weeks of a planned absence as a result of a religious holiday.  Absences may be considered “unexcused” if the form is not filed in accordance with this provision.
  • If a student has a question regarding the Religious Holiday Observance Policy, they should contact Justin Lind-Ayres, University Pastor, at lindayre@augsburg.edu, Babette Chatman, University Pastor, at chatmanb@augsburg.edu  or Mark Hanson, Director of the Augsburg Interfaith Institute, at hansonms@augsburg.edu.
  • Students may wish to consult with the Chief Inclusion Officer or the faculty member’s academic dean if an instructor is unable or unwilling to grant their request. 

NOTES

 

1) Because students are required to make prior arrangements with individual instructors for completion of any work missed during an absence and instructors may want to use the same exercise that the rest of the class has completed, students are obligated to avoid obtaining any information about that graded exercise that would give an unfair advantage over other students taking the course.

2) In the event that a religious holiday should fall during exam week, students should contact their instructor during the first week of the course to make sure a work around is possible. If one is not possible, or there is a special circumstance like a performance or a concert that cannot be made up, the student may be advised to take that specific course during a different semester.

3) Student Conduct Code  [from the Augsburg Student Handbook]

The University has adopted standards of behavior and policies which require students and their organizations to lead in matters of behavior with ethical and moral integrity. Augsburg strives to provide a community that protects each student’s freedom to learn and that seeks the orderly resolution of human problems while honoring the fundamental rights of all. It is the goal of Augsburg University to create and maintain a respectful environment for members of the University community: students, staff, faculty, administration, and visitors. Such an environment is congruent with the University mission and values and, as such, serves to enhance the teaching- learning process.