Faculty Guidelines

Guidelines for Faculty: Accommodating Religious Observance


As a non-sectarian institution, Allegheny College affirms the variety of religious faiths represented within our community and supports individuals’ personal practice and expression of religion. We urge flexibility and consideration of religious practice in both curricular and co-curricular planning.

College policy includes religious holidays as legitimate reasons to miss class, and students should contact professors in advance. Faculty are encouraged to include a note in course syllabi, such as the following: “If you need to miss class due to a religious observance, please speak to me in advance to make arrangements to cover material from that day.” For further information, see http://sites.allegheny.edu/religiouslife/religious-holy-days/holidays/.”

The dates for religious holy days that members of our community may be observing are listed below, with descriptions and suggested accommodations related to coursework, dietary restrictions, and liturgical practice. Please contact the Spiritual and Religious Life Office for additional information, or with suggestions of other steps that can help foster respect for religious difference in our community.



Religious Calendar for 2014-15

Many of these holy days fall on a different day each year.

Jewish holidays begin on sundown of the first day listed.

Major Holy Days

Please avoid scheduling exams, field trips, or other activities that would be difficult for students to make up, and accommodate students who miss class on these days. Faculty meetings and important campus-wide events are also discouraged on these dates.

Jun.   28-Jul. 28 Ramadan   (Islamic month of fasting; most Muslims will continue daily activity, but suggested   accommodations based on dietary restrictions are listed below)
Jul.   28-30 Eid al-Fitr (Islamic three-day celebration at the end of Ramadan)
Sep.   24-26 Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Oct.   3-4 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
Oct.   4-6 Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice; Islamic three-day celebration at the end of the hajj)
Nov.   3 Ashura (Shi‘ite holy day commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn b. ‘Ali)
Dec.   25 Christmas (Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus)
Apr.   3-5 First two days of Passover (Jewish week-long observance of the Exodus from Egypt begins)
Apr.   5 Easter (Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection)
Note:   Eastern Orthodox Easter falls on Apr. 12



Religious Rituals

Participation in these rituals may affect attendance at classes or other campus events.

Nov. 1 All Saints Day (Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics) Required Mass, 12:15-1:00 pm
Dec. 8 Immaculate Conception (Holy Day of   Obligation for Catholics) Required Mass, 12:15-1:00 pm
Feb.   18 Ash Wednesday (Christian first day of Lent) Campus service, 4:30-5:30 pm
Apr.   2 Maundy   Thursday (Christian observance of Jesus’ last supper) Campus service that evening
Apr.   3 Good   Friday (Christian observance of Jesus’ death and burial) Campus service, 12:15-1:00 pm
Week of Apr. 3 Passover Seder (TBA, often scheduled after first two days) Campus dinner, 5-7:30 pm


Dietary Accommodations

The following holy days involve dietary restrictions that have implications for events at which food is served. During times of fasting, you may also consider offering take-home exams or other alternatives that would allow students to engage in coursework during times of peak efficiency. Although Ramadan falls before the start of classes, students and faculty may be on campus for various activities, so we encourage sensitivity to those who may be fasting.

Jun. 28-Jul. 28         Ramadan:   Muslims fast daily from food and drink from before sunrise until after sunset
Oct. 3-4                      Yom   Kippur: Jews fast from sundown Oct. 3, until sundown Oct. 4
Feb. 18-Apr. 4          Lent:   Christians may fast from meat on Fridays or engage in other forms of fasting
Mar. 2-20                   Month of Fasting: Baha’is do not eat or drink   between sunup and sundown
Apr. 3-11                   Passover: Jews eat no leavened bread and some   observe other dietary restrictions.
(Note:   Please include Kosher for Passover options at any catered events this week.)


Additional Holy Days

Please be mindful of these additional holidays, which members of the campus community may be observing, and check with those involved in meetings, lectures, or other programs to see if your event presents a conflict for anyone.

Jun. 3-5 Shavuot   (Jewish commemoration of giving of Torah on Sinai)
Jun. 21 Midsummer, or Litha (Pagan holiday around the summer solstice, the longest day)
Jul. 9 Martyrdom of the Bab (Death of the herald of the Baha’i faith)*
Jul. 17 or 26 Laylat al-Qadr (Islamic night of prayer during Ramadan; date varies based on different legal opinions)
Aug. 1 Lughnassad, or Lammas (Pagan celebration of the beginning of harvest)
Aug. 17 Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu festival celebrating birth of Krishna)
Sep.  2 Harvest, or Mabon (Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for fruits of the earth)
Sep. 25-Oct. 3 Navaratri (Hindu festival honoring the goddess Durga)
Oct. 3 Dussehra, or Dasara (Hindu celebration of victories by several gods and goddesses)
Oct. 8-15 Sukkot   (Jewish week-long Festival of Booths)
Oct. 20 Birth   of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)*
Oct. 23 Diwali   (Hindu Festival of Lights)
Nov. 1 Samhain   (Pagan festival honoring those who have died)
Nov. 12 Birth of Baha’u’llah (Founder of Baha’i faith)*
Nov. 30 Advent begins (Christian season of preparation for Christmas)
Dec. 16-24 Hanukkah  (Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights)
Dec. 21 Yule, or Winter Solstice (Pagan observance of the winter solstice)
Jan. 3 Mawlid al-Nabi (Islamic observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday)
Feb. 2 Imbolc, or St. Brighid’s Day (Pagan   celebration of the beginning of spring)
Feb. 3-4 Tu B’Shvat (Jewish Arbor Day)
Mar. 4-5 Purim (Jewish Feast of Lots)
Mar. 6 Holi (Hindu Festival of Colors)
Mar. 20 Ostara  (Pagan festival at the vernal equinox)
Mar. 21 Naw-Rúz  (Baha’i Month of Fasting ends)*
Mar. 29 Palm Sunday (Christian observance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem)
Apr. 15-16 Yom Hashoah (Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance)
Apr. 21-May 2 Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i commemoration of Baha’u’llah’s proclamation)**
May 1 Beltane (Pagan celebration related to May Day, fertility)
May 29 Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Anniversary of Baha’i’s founder’s death)*
*Baha’i observances on which work is suspended
**Work suspended on Apr. 21, Apr. 29, and May 2