Contact

If you have any questions about interpreting the policy or other concerns or corrections, please contact the Office for Spiritual Engagement at byrd@hws.edu or jhmiller@hws.edu. 

Here is a list of major religious holidays that may affect a student’s participation in classes.  In order to foster a diverse and inclusive learning environment and in keeping with New York State law, found here, the Colleges have adopted the following policy regarding religious observance:

No student shall be prevented from participating in any examination, study, or work requirements because of religious obligations and practices. The Colleges accept the responsibility of making available to each student who is absent from class because of religious obligations and practices an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. In effecting these provisions, the Colleges' administration and faculty agree to exercise the fullest measure of good faith and agree that no adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student who avails himself or herself of the Colleges' policy on religious observances. It is the student’s obligation to inform faculty of any necessary accommodation well in advance of the date on which special accommodations are needed. (HWS Faculty Handbook, March 2017)

Some of our students come from very strong religious and cultural backgrounds where no classes are held on Rosh Ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, etc.  Here are concrete ways you can support your religiously observant students.

  1. Avoid scheduling tests, major quizzes, field trips, major lectures and large campus events on major holidays.
  2. Include a reminder of our campus policy in your syllabus.
  3. Note the responsibilities students have in requesting accommodation.
  4. Note the ways you anticipate providing accommodations.
  5. Talk about the issue when you address your attendance policy at the start of the semester.
  6. Encourage your students to convey to you in advance when they will miss a previously scheduled class or examination due to religious observance so that they will not be disadvantaged by their religious practice

Nita Byrd,
Chaplain of the Colleges

Policy

The Colleges’ policy on religious observance includes the following: “The Colleges accept the responsibility of making available to each student who is absent from class because of religious obligations and practices an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirement missed.”

Jewish and Muslim holidays begin the evening before.

2022-2023 Academic Year

Fall 2022 Semester

September 25 - 27 

Rosh Hashanah

October 4 - 5 

Yom Kippur

October 9 - 16 

Sukkot

October 16 - 18 

Shemini Atzeret

October 17 - 18 

Simchat Torah

October 24

Diwali

December 18 - 26

Hanukkah

 

Spring 2023 Semester

March 6-7

Purim

March 22

Ramadan begins

April 5-13

Passover

April 9

Easter (Western Christian)

April 21

Eid al-Fitr

May 25-27

Shavuot