Year round, best practices suggest that religious accommodations are demonstrative
of an inclusive classroom. Faculty are expected to make reasonable accommodations
for religious observances as required by both Towson University policy and USM policy.
TU accommodates students, faculty and staff who observe religious/spiritual holy days. Please
check dates before scheduling critical deadlines, events or activities and accommodate observant
individuals with reasonable support. Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis
of religious or spiritual belief.
Recommendations are included below to provide reasonable and fair support to students
who may encounter conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments, or required attendance
due to religious observances:
- Faculty and students should work together to reach reasonable accommodations that
abide by the Towson University Policy on Non-Discrimination.
- Faculty can inform students of the USM policy concerning the scheduling of academic assignments on dates of religious observance
and indicate that they will not be penalized because of religious observances “and shall be given an opportunity, whenever feasible, to make up within a reasonable
time any academic assignment that is missed due to individual participation in religious
observances.” Indicating awareness of religious observances can make students feel better supported
and empowered to seek any accommodations.
- Faculty can reiterate policy concerning written requests to be excused from a class,
an exam, or other scheduled academic activity to observe a religious holiday. Also,
you can remind students that they should make arrangements in advance to make up any exams, or class material if they are absent.
- Faculty may:
- Discuss 1:1 with students what support they may need if they are breaking their fast
during class or exam time.
- Post exam schedules in advance so students can be better informed and prepared to ask for accommodations. Faculty may allow Muslim students to take their exams earlier in the day, rather than
at the end of a day of fasting.
- Starting in late March or early April, many Muslims in the Towson University community
will abstain from food and drink (including water) from dawn until sunset during the
month of Ramadan.
- Faculty may offer the option for students to not be required to take more than one
exam in a 24-hour period.
- Faculty may ensure that Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS) and Resources are available during those alternate exam times.
- Individual faculty may choose to supervise alternate exams themselves.
- Every Muslim student does not have the same capacity, as some prefer to take exams earlier in the day, while others are better prepared after
breaking their fast.
For ongoing support, please contact the Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity at oiie AT_TOWSON.