A "reasonable accommodation” is any change in an academic course or program of study with respect to the way tasks or responsibilities are customarily done that enables a student to observe his/her religious practice or belief without creating undue hardship.
“Undue hardship” occurs when granting a requested accommodation would require significant expense or difficulty for the College, or would result in the inability of the student to perform an essential function of his or her course/program of study. The determination of undue hardship is dependent on the facts of each individual situation.
The College provides reasonable accommodations for religious observances required by a student’s religious practice or belief. Such reasonable accommodations must be requested in accordance with these procedures and include the opportunity for the student to make up any tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance. An accommodation request imposes responsibilities and obligations on both the College and the student requesting the accommodation. College faculty are required, as part of their responsibility to their students and the College, to adhere to these guidelines to ensure full and fair implementation of our equal opportunity and diversity policies by reasonably accommodating individual religious practices or beliefs. Regardless of any accommodation that may be granted, UMSL students are responsible for satisfying all academic objectives, requirements and prerequisites as determined by their instructor and the College.
Faculty members may verify dates by consulting published calendars of religious holidays and dates. Be aware that some observances begin the evening prior to the date listed.
Faculty may also consult with the Title IX/Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Coordinator prior to granting a request for accommodation.
- Students who miss classes, examinations or other assignments because of a religious practice or belief must be provided with a reasonable alternative opportunity to complete such academic responsibilities. It is the obligation of students to provide faculty with reasonable notice of the dates of religious observances on which they will be absent by submitting a Request for Accommodations for Religious Observance Form to their instructor early in the semester and no later than two weeks prior to the need for the accommodation. A student who submits a late Request for Accommodations for Religious Observance Form must show good cause for the late submission, and the late submission itself may be taken into account in determining whether the student has a religious practice or belief requiring accommodation and whether granting the request would create undue hardship.
- The instructor and the student should discuss what a reasonable accommodation should include in a given case. At a minimum, reasonable accommodations must provide that students who are absent on days of examinations or class assignments due to a religious observance have an opportunity to make up the work, without penalty, unless granting the make-up opportunity would create undue hardship.
- If the instructor and student agree upon a reasonable accommodation, the accommodation is then documented and implemented.
- If there is no consensus on a reasonable accommodation, either party or both should seek the advice of the department or division chair. In those cases where a request for a religious accommodation is denied by the instructor, and there is no resolution through discussion with the unit chair, the student may file a complaint with the Title IX/Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Coordinator.
- Excused absences from classes or examinations for religious observances will not be counted against any mandatory attendance requirements, but they do not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence. The instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to satisfactorily complete any alternative assignment or examination.