Posted August 26, 2013 This content is archived.

Religious Accommodation Laws and Policies

To:              University Community

From:          Charles F. Zukoski
                  Provost and Executive Vice President
                  for Academic Affairs

Date:           Monday, August 26, 2013


The beginning of a new academic year is an opportune time to remind faculty, staff and students that UB is strongly committed to protecting the right of all University members to practice their faith freely.  Under Federal and New York State law, reasonable accommodation must be made for any student who is unable to attend a regularly scheduled class or exam because of religious observance.  Reasonable religious accommodations in the workplace also must be made for all employees.

Any student absence for religious observance will be viewed as an “excused absence,” with no negative consequence.  If the exact coursework missed cannot be completed at a later time, for whatever reason, students will be offered a similar make-up assignment. Students cannot be assigned extra work above and beyond normal course requirements because of an absence due to a religious holiday.  UB policy states that students are responsible for informing instructors or employers when they will be absent for religious holidays. If an instructor cancels class for religious reasons, he or she should schedule a make-up session. 

Resources are available to all members of the university community should they believe that they are not being accommodated fairly.  If students encounter difficulty with regard to reasonable accommodation regarding classes or assignments, they should contact the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.  Faculty and staff should contact the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

As a reminder, UB’s recently revised “religious neutral” academic calendar does not go into effect until the 2014-2015 academic year. Therefore, there are several religious holidays that will be observed during the current academic year.   For information about major religious holidays that will occur while the University is in session, see the interfaith calendar.

For complete policy and law information, see: