Faculty Guidelines

Accommodating Religious Observance

As a non-sectarian institution, Allegheny College affirms the variety of religious, secular, and spiritual identities represented within our community and supports individual and group ritual practice. We urge flexibility and consideration of religious practice in both curricular and co-curricular planning, in order to create the “inclusive, respectful and safe residential learning community” to which our Statement of Community aspires.

College policy recognizes major religious holidays as legitimate reasons to miss class or to reschedule a final exam, and students should contact professors in advance to request accommodation. Faculty are encouraged to include a note in course syllabi, such as the following: “If you need to miss class or reschedule a final examination due to a religious observance, please speak to the professor well in advance to make arrangements.”

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, ritual practice, and exam schedules. Please contact the following people for additional information, or with suggestions of other steps that can help foster respect for religious diversity in our community.

Religious Calendar for 2021-2022

*Holiday begins the evening of the first date listed and ends the evening of last date 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.

Jul. 20 Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice; Islamic celebration at the end of the Hajj)
Sep. 6-8* Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Sep. 15-16* Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
Dec. 25 Christmas (Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus)
Apr. 3-May 3 Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting; Muslim students may request taking exams early in the day; suggested accommodations based on dietary restrictions are below)
Apr. 15-17* First two days of Passover (Jewish week-long observance of the Exodus from Egypt)
Apr. 17 Easter (Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection)
May 3 Eid al-Fitr (Islamic celebration at the end of Ramadan)

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. 2 Ash Wednesday (Christian first day of Lent) Campus service,
4:30-5:30 pm
Apr. 15 Good Friday (Christian observance of Jesus’ death and burial) Campus service,
12:15-1:00 pm

Dietary Accommodations

  • Jews do not eat pork and do not eat meat and dairy in the same meal. Muslims also refrain from pork, as well as alcohol, and some require meat that is halal. Parkhurst is familiar with these dietary requirements and can accommodate them at catered events, given advance notice.
  • 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. 
Sep. 15-16* Yom Kippur: Jews fast from sundown Sep. 15 until sundown Sep. 16
Mar. 1-19 Month of Fasting: Baha’is do not eat or drink between sunup and sundown
Mar. 2-Apr. 14 Lent: Christians may fast from meat on Fridays or engage in other forms of fasting
Apr. 3 -May 3 Ramadan: Muslims fast daily from food and drink from sunrise until sunset
Apr. 15-23* Passover: Jews eat no leavened bread and may observe other dietary restrictions. (Note: Please include Kosher for Passover options at any catered events this week.)


Required Religious Observances during Final Exams

There are no required religious observances that fall during the exam periods this year.


Additional Holy Days

  • Members of our community may be celebrating these holidays as individuals or with other members of their religious group. 
  • In addition to minor holidays in religions that are well-represented on campus, we have also included major ritual days in under-represented religions. Please note that these holidays are as important for those involved as Yom Kippur is for Jews or Easter is for Christians. Those students should be accommodated if they need to miss class.
  • Work is suspended on the Baha’i holidays marked with #.
Jul. 8-9*# Martyrdom of the Bab (Death of the herald of the Baha’i faith)
Aug. 1 Lughnassad, or Lammas (Pagan celebration of the beginning of harvest)
Aug. 17 Ashura (Shi‘ite holy day commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn b. ‘Ali)
Aug. 29 Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Krishna)
Sep. 10 Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu festival celebrating Ganesha’s birth)
Sep. 20-27* Sukkot (Jewish week-long Festival of Booths)
Sep. 22 Harvest, or Mabon (Pagan ritual of thanksgiving)
Sep. 28-29* Simchat Torah (Jewish celebration of the Torah)
Oct. 6-15 Navaratri (Hindu nine-day autumn festival)
Oct. 14 Dussehra, or Dasara (Hindu celebration of victories by several gods and goddesses)
Oct. 19 Mawlid al-Nabi (Islamic observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday)
Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Samhain (Pagan festival honoring those who have died)
Nov. 4 Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights)
Nov. 5-6*# Birth of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)
Nov. 7-8*# Birth of Baha’u’llah (Founder of Baha’i faith)
Nov. 18 Guru Nanak Jayanti (Sikh observance of founder’s birthday)
Nov. 28-Dec. 6* Hanukkah (Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights)
Nov. 28-Dec. 24 Advent (Christian season of preparation for Christmas)
Dec. 21 Yule, or Winter Solstice (Pagan observance of the winter solstice)
Dec. 26-Jan. 1 Kwanzaa (African American cultural festival)
Jan. 6 Epiphany (Christian celebration of Jesus’ manifestation to Gentiles)
Jan. 7 Christmas (Eastern Orthodox celebration of Jesus’ birth
Jan. 16-17* Tu B’Shvat (Jewish celebration of trees)
Feb. 2 Imbolc (Pagan celebration of the beginning of spring)
Feb. 5 Saraswati Puja, or Vasant Panchami (Hindu springtime festival)
Feb. 15 Nirvana Day (Buddhists mark Buddha’s full achievement of Nirvana)
Feb. 28 Maha Shivratri (Hindu festival of the god Shiva)
Mar. 1 Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, celebration prior to Christian season of Lent)
Mar. 16-17* Purim (Jewish Feast of Lots)
Mar. 17 Holi (Hindu Festival of Colors)
Mar. 20-21*# Naw-Rúz (Baha’i New Year)
Mar. 20 Ostara (Pagan festival at the spring equinox)
Apr. 10 Palm Sunday (Christian observance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem)P
Apr. 14 Maundy Thursday (Christian observance of Jesus’ last supper)
Apr. 20-May 2*# Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i founder Baha’u’llah proclaimed as God’s messenger)
Work suspended on day 1 (Apr. 20-21*), day 9 (Apr. 28-29*) and day 12 (May 1-2*)
Apr. 22 Holy Friday (Eastern Orthodox)
Apr. 24 Easter (Eastern Orthodox celebration of Jesus’ birth)
Apr. 27-28* Yom Hashoah (Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance)
Apr. 29 Laylat al-Qadr (Islamic night of prayer during Ramadam)
May 1 Beltane (Pagan celebration related to May Day, fertility)
May 23-24*# Declaration of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)
May 28-29*# Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Marks Baha’i founder’s death)
Jun. 4-6* Shavuot (Jewish commemoration of God’s gift of Torah at Sinai)
Jun. 5 Pentecost (Christian celebration of Holy Spirit and birth of the church)
Jun. 21 Midsummer, or Litha (Pagan holiday around the summer solstice, the longest day)

*Holiday begins the evening of the first date listed and ends the evening of last date listed.