It is the policy of Columbia College and of Columbia University to respect the religious beliefs of its faculty, students, and staff. In accordance with New York State law, no student may be penalized for absences due to religious beliefs.
Instructors are expected to avoid conflicts with religious holidays as much as possible, particularly with regard to required activities such as registration, classes, examinations, and various deadlines that are a part of the academic calendar. When scheduling conflicts prove unavoidable, instructors are expected to find alternative means by which students can satisfy missed academic requirements.
Students are required to inform their instructors of their plans to observe a religious holiday at the beginning of the semester, so that instructor and student have plenty of time to plan for any necessary alternative arrangements. It is important for students to understand that, no matter what absences might be accommodated, they will still be responsible for all course requirements, which may include in-class participation or other assignments that will need to be made up in some alternative way.
If a suitable arrangement cannot be worked out between the student and the instructor, they should consult the appropriate department chair, dean or director. If an additional appeal is needed, it may be taken to the Provost whose determination is final.
Dates and definitions of religious holidays can be found on the Interfaith Calendar.
Any instructor who would like guidance on a particular religious holiday or form of observance may seek guidance from University Chaplain Jewelnel Davis.
Any instructor who has concerns regarding the academic implications of a student’s religious observance should contact Lisa Hollibaugh, dean of Academic Affairs of Columbia College.