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Religious & Spiritual Life

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Religious & Spiritual Life

Religious Accommodations for Students

Religious Accommodation Statement

The University of Denver has an enduring commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence, including religious diversity. The University honors and respects students’ rights to observe sincerely held religious beliefs or practices and provides an educational environment in which all students are free from harassment and discrimination based on religion consistent with the requirements of federal, state and local law. As part of this commitment, the University provides reasonable accommodations for students’ sincerely held religious beliefs or practices unless the University determines that such an accommodation would fundamentally alter the curriculum or academic program.

Religious Accommodation Procedures

Students should follow these procedures in requesting a religious accommodation for academic requirements:

  • By the end of the second week of a course, students are expected to examine the course syllabus for potential conflicts with religious beliefs or practices and submit the Religious Accommodation Request form to seek any requested absence(s). In the case of exams or assignments that are added to the syllabus or otherwise announced after the first two weeks of the course, students should submit the Religious Accommodation Request form as soon as possible and in advance of the requested absence(s).
  • For courses that are shorter than the traditional quarter or semester, within the first week of the course, students are expected to examine the course syllabus for potential conflicts with religious beliefs or practices and submit the Religious Accommodation Request form to seek any requested absence(s). In the case of exams or assignments that are added to the syllabus or otherwise announced after the first week of the course, students should submit the Religious Accommodation Request form as soon as possible and in advance of the requested absence(s).
  • Students who have conflicts with the overall class schedule, such as the time and date the class is offered, are encouraged to find an alternative section for the class.
  • Requests for absences from an internship, externship, field placement, or other practical learning experience outside the classroom will be assessed on an individual, case-by-case basis in consultation with the University placement supervisor and the field placement supervisor. Students should understand that if an accommodation is granted, missing time from an internship, externship, field placement, or other practical learning experience may require the student to make‐up the missed time or work. Students who have conflicts with the overall schedule for an internship, externship, field placement, or other practical learning experience are encouraged to consider scheduling the internship, externship, field placement, or other practical learning experience at another time. The student should consult with the University placement supervisor for the program regarding such scheduling needs.

After receiving a request for religious accommodation (webform above automatically emails student-provided instructors), instructors must consider the request and determine whether the accommodation is reasonable and does not fundamentally alter the curriculum or academic program. The instructor should evaluate the request on a case-by-case basis, taking into account relevant factors including, but not limited to:

  • the fundamental requirements of the applicable academic program and/or related technical standards;
  • the requirements of the course;
  • the requirements of the department or major;
  • the potential effects of the accommodation on the individual and fellow students;
  • the duration of the accommodation request; and
  • the availability of alternative accommodations.

Prior to denying a request for religious accommodation or offering an alternative accommodation, if an instructor has concerns regarding whether a request for religious accommodation fundamentally alters the curriculum or academic program, the instructor should consult with the Senior Director of The Cultural Center (via contact information at right).

The University is not required to accept the student’s requested,  preferred accommodation if there is more than one alternative that eliminates the religious conflict. When there is more than one alternative, the University may select any of the accommodations, provided that the accommodation will effectively eliminate the religious conflict.

Students are responsible for fulfilling the course requirements, including obtaining the materials and information provided during any missed class(es), and for working with course instructors in advance on an appropriate timeline to submit any missed assignments, take any exams, or complete organized activities.

Once a religious accommodation request is granted, the instructor will provide the student the opportunity to make-up the missed assignments, take any exams, or complete organized activities. In providing this opportunity, the instructor should provide alternatives that are substantially equivalent to the original assignment, exam, or activity.

Appeals for Denial of Religious Accommodation for Academic Requirements

Students may appeal an instructor’s decision denying a request for religious accommodation by submitting a written appeal to the chair of the department, or to the program director if there is no chair, within five (5) business days of the instructor’s decision. The chair of the department or program director, as applicable, must consult with the Director of Equal Opportunity and issue a decision in writing within five (5) business days of receiving the appeal and shall include the reasons for the decision.

The student may appeal the decision of the chair of the department or program director denying the appeal to the dean of the appropriate academic unit, or the dean’s designee, within five (5) business days of receiving the decision. The dean, or dean’s designee, must consult with the Director of Equal Opportunity and issue a decision within five (5) business days of receiving the appeal. The decision of the dean, or dean’s designee, is final.

Concerns of Harassment or Discrimination

Students who believe that they have been harassed or discriminated against based on religion may contact the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX, www.du.edu/equalopportunity, by phone at 303-871-7016, by email at [email protected], or in person at the Mary Reed Building, 4th Floor, 2199 S University Boulevard.