Supporting Religious Observances

Supporting Religious Observances


When planning courses, it is useful to remember the rich mixture of religious viewpoints that exist within our student population. Indiana University students follow many different religious practices; some of them will need to miss classes for observances on days when the university remains open. This page addresses IUB policies related to supporting students' religious identities. A note on language: While many policies focus on "accommodation," we feel that language implies that the student is presenting a problem that needs to be fixed rather than representing diversity that we should be embracing. Instead, we encourage instructors to find ways to embrace and celebrate the diversity in their classes, including the selection of inclusive and supportive language.

The IU Religious Observances policy is the result of lengthy faculty discussion about the just and appropriate ways to support our increasingly diverse student population. The policy attempts to strike a reasonable balance between supporting students in their religious observances and meeting academic needs and standards.

  • Instructors should, on the syllabus, notify students of the religious observances policy and of the dates of major papers, exams, and projects.
  • Students should use the appropriate form to request a scheduling accommodation for religious observances, doing so within the first two weeks of the course.
  • Instructors should make a reasonable scheduling accommodation when a student must miss an exam or other academic exercise because of a required religious observance. With timely notice, students must be allowed to make up the work that was missed.  Absence for a religious observance does not count toward the number of absences an instructor might allow in a class.


VPFAA provides the policy for religious observances and the form for requesting scheduling accommodations, and a calendar of upcoming religious observances is available in the Enrollment Bulletin site.

For More Help or Information

Contact the CITL to get help designing your syllabi to support students in their religious observances.