St. Cloud State University Policies & Procedures

Religious Observance Link☍

Create PDF: Religious Observance

Current Status: Approved

Policy Type: All University

Effective Date: 08/22/2012

Last Updated: 04/04/2021

Applies To: Students, Faculty, Staff

Responsible University Officer: President

Policy Owner: Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, Special Advisor to the President

Policy Contact: Special Advisor to the President, Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs


This policy is to provide a framework for the reasonable accommodation of religious practices of members of the university community.


It is the policy of St. Cloud State University to make good faith efforts to reasonably accommodate religious practices, obligations, or observation of religious holidays (holy days) to honor the sincerely held religious beliefs of students, faculty and staff with respect to all academic and other work requirements unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.

Optional events that may be viewed as religious or spiritual in nature, such as a wedding, are not official practices or obligations and are not included in this policy.  

Optional extensions to the religious practice, obligation, or holiday, such as traveling to a location that is not required for the observation or adding extra days for celebration or visitation are also not included in this policy.




Reasonable accommodation of religious observances for students may involve decisions relating to admissions, extra-curricular activities, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and other academic assignments or requirements.

Whenever possible, students shall seek opportunities to attend or take part in religious events or obligations on dates or at times that do not interfere with scheduled classes. When this is not possible, a student who is unable [because of the observance of a religious holiday] to attend classes on a particular day or days or at a particular time of day due to the observance of a religious practice, obligation, or holiday (holy day) shall be given an accommodation.  This includes being excused from taking any examination or engaging in any study or other academic [work] assignments on such days or times unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.

It is the responsibility of students to communicate to faculty advance notice of absences to observe religious practices, obligations, or holidays. Notice in the first weeks of the course is strongly encouraged.

It is the responsibility of the faculty to make available to such students an equivalent opportunity to make up the examinations, study, or other academic work requirements which students missed due to such absences.

Faculty, staff and university officials will normally accept the sincerity of students’ professed religious beliefs.

If a student and instructor or staff member are unable to reach agreement on accommodation the student should contact someone with supervisory authority over the instructor or staff person who will assist the parties in reaching agreement.

Any student who feels that he or she has been unreasonably denied an educational or student employment benefit due to religious beliefs or practices should contact the Office of Equity and Affirmative Action.

University Employees

University employees, including student employees, needing to observe religious practices, obligations, or holidays on days normally scheduled as work days shall be entitled to such days off from employment for such observances. Employees needing to be absent from work due to religious beliefs (or practices) will provide at least three weeks advance notice of such need to the employee’s supervisor. If, under the circumstances, the employee cannot provide three weeks of advance notice, the employee will provide as much advance notice as reasonably practicable under the circumstances.

Whenever possible, an employee who is responsible for teaching a class on a day the employee has requested to be absent will work with the supervisor to arrange for a substitute teacher.

Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible in the application of this policy and to make reasonable accommodations unless such an accommodation would result in ‘undue hardship’ in the conduct of university business.

The approval of the request for a religious accommodation shall not be dependent upon finding a substitute.

Religious observance days shall be taken without pay except where the employee has accumulated leave, and in that case such days shall be charged against the accumulated leave of the employee unless the employee is able to use compensatory time or a rearranged schedule in cooperation with the supervisor only as provided in the relevant bargaining agreement or policy.

The supervisor is responsible for encouraging an atmosphere of cooperation and accommodation among the faculty and staff members within the affected unit].

Any employee who feels that he or she has been unreasonably denied an educational or employment benefit due to religious beliefs or practices should contact the Office of Equity and Affirmative Action.


University Communications will provide, for information, a regular list of dates of the major religious holidays in the emailed version of the St. Cloud State TODAY newsletter. A non-exhaustive list is also available on the SCSU Interfaith Calendar Website (see Supporting URLs).


Beliefs, practices, church, faith, religion, mass, temple, prayer, Christmas, Easter, decorations, safety, celebration, office use

Supporting Documents (Forms, Instructions)

Feb 28 2019 10:03AM

Supporting URLs

Websites, Related External Documents, Statutes


Responsible University Officer
   Wacker, Robbyn R.
   Gregory, Daniel D.
   Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs
   Siminoe, Judith P.
   Special Advisor to the President
   Cornell-Swanson, LaVonne J.
   Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Affairs
   Siminoe, Judith P.
   Special Advisor to the President

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