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://www.allegheny.edu/news/inw/holidays.php.”

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 2013-2014

Most 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.

Jul. 9-Aug.8 Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting; most Muslims will continue daily activity, but suggested accommodations based on dietary restrictions are listed below.)
 Aug. 8-10  ‘Id al-Fitr (Islamic three-day celebration at the end of Ramadan)
Sep. 4-6 Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Sep.13-14 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
Oct. 15-17  ‘Id al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice; Islamic three-day celebration at the end of the hajj)
Nov. 14  Ashura (Shi‘ite holy day commemorating the martyrdom
of Husayn b. ‘Ali)
Dec. 25 Christmas (Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus)
Apr. 14-15 First two days of Passover (Jewish week-long observance of the Exodus from Egypt begins)
Apr. 20 Easter (Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection)
Note: Eastern Orthodox Easter also falls on Apr. 20


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
Mar. 5  Ash Wednesday (Christian first day of Lent)
Campus service, 4:30-5:30 pm
Apr. 18 Good Friday (Christian observance of Jesus’ death and burial)
Campus service, 12:15-1:00 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 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 may be on campus for various activities, so we encourage your accommodation of any who may be fasting

Jul. 9-Aug. 8 Ramadan
Muslims fast daily from food and drink from before sunrise until after sunset
Sep. 13-14 Yom Kippur
Jews fast from sundown Sep 13, until sundown Sep 14
Mar. 5-Apr. 19 Lent
Christians may fast from meat on Fridays or engage in other forms  of fasting
Apr. 14-20 Passover
Jews eat no leavened bread and some observe other dietary


Additional Holy Days

Please be mindful of these additional holidays, which members of the campus community may be observing.

Jul.30-31 Laylat al-Qadr (Islamic night of prayer during Ramadan)
Aug. 1 Lughnassad, or Lammas (Pagan celebration of the beginning of harvest)
Sep. 18 Sukkot (Jewish week-long Festival of Booths)
Sep. 22 Harvest, or Madon (Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for fruits
of the earth)
Nov. 1 Samhain (Pagan festival honoring those who have died)
Nov. 3 Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights)
Nov. 27 Hanukkah (Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights)
Dec. 1 Advent (Christian season of preparation for the birth of Jesus; four Sundays prior to Christmas)
Dec. 21 Yule, or Winter Solstice (Pagan observance of the winter solstice)
Jan. 13 Mawlid al-Nabi (Observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday)
Jan. 15  Tu B’Shvat (Jewish Arbor Day)
Feb. 2 Imbolc, or St. Brighid’s Day (Pagan celebration of the beginning of spring)
Mar. 15 Purim (Jewish Feast of Lots)
Mar. 20 Ostara (Pagan festival at the vernal equinox)
Apr. 13 Palm Sunday (Christian observance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem)
Apr. 17 Maundy Thursday (Christian observance of Jesus’ Passover meal with disciples)
Apr. 26 Yom Hashoah (Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance)
May 1 Beltane (Pagan celebration related to May Day, fertility)
Jun. 21 Midsummer, or Litha (Pagan holiday around the summer solstice, the longest day)