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Religious & Ethnic Holidays

Religious, Cultural, Ethnic, Meaning-Making, and Faith Based Observances

As a publicly funded institution of higher education, Virginia Tech does not officially recognize religious holidays and celebrations. However, as an institution we recognize the importance of such events in the lives of our community members. In the spirit of inclusive excellence and our Principles of Community, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to be cognizant of major religious and cultural observances when planning courses and campus events and to be sensitive to potential conflicts.

When conflicts do occur, students should notify their instructors in accordance with university policy stated as follows:

If a student cannot attend a class, they may notify their instructor(s) directly or contact the Office of the Dean of Students, whose staff can provide advocacy through its absence verification process. The Office of the Dean of Students considers absence verification for any of the following reasons: illness or death of a family member or friend; off-campus medical appointments or hospital admission; court subpoenas; military orders; and observances of religious, cultural, ethnic, meaning-making, or faith-based beliefs. Staff members send an absence verification notice to the college dean, who then forwards the verification to the instructor(s). If upon a good-faith evaluation an instructor believes that accommodating an absence negatively affects the course of study, students can contact the Office of the Dean of Students for continued advocacy and guidance. Students are responsible for making arrangements with the instructor as soon as possible to complete any work missed due to absence. If this work differs from the original exam or assignment, it must be appropriately related to course objectives and no more difficult than the original.

Faculty determine their attendance policy, including whether they will accommodate absences and how they will do so. However, in accordance with the Virginia Tech Principles of Community, faculty are encouraged to accommodate students when the observance of religious, cultural, ethnic, meaning-making, or faith-based beliefs conflict with academic requirements. Students who choose to request an excused absence directly from their instructor(s) due to a religious observance should do so during the first two weeks of classes or as soon as they become aware of the need for an accommodation.

For a calendar of observances, please see The Interfaith Calendar

The Interfaith Calendar:

This calendar has evolved since 1993 and serves as a credible and comprehensive source world-wide. Web sites of world religions and interfaith organizations are monitored and information is tested by comparison with many sites. Because of the variety of religious customs and practices it is not possible to be both comprehensive and totally accurate. The online Interfaith Calendar is reviewed by users from many religions and countries. Users of the calendar include university personnel, school district officials, teachers, students, military personnel, city and police administrative offices, religious leaders, business people, convention planners, travelers, and people who are either just curious or wish to increase their religious devotion and knowledge.