Information on accommodating religious observances
August 18, 2023 9:00 AM

Dear Colleagues,

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is committed to maintaining an inclusive educational environment for students of all religious backgrounds, and to upholding state and federal law requiring the university to reasonably accommodate its students’ religious beliefs, observances, and practices concerning admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and work requirements. Whenever possible, it is best practice to plan exams, required labs, and other due dates around religious holidays. The Religious Observances that Affect the Academic Calendar webpage is an excellent resource to bookmark for reference to find listings of the primary sacred times for many world religions that may affect your course and event planning.

When planning around such dates is impossible, instructors need to provide reasonable accommodations for students who have a religious observance as outlined in the Student CodeArticle 1, Part 5 – Class Attendance and Article 1, Section 1-107 on Religious Beliefs, Observances, and Practices. Notable for unit executive officers, Section 1-107 b. allows appeals to the dean of the academic unit offering the course when a religious accommodation is not granted or a student believes that the accommodation is unreasonable. Accordingly, units should have a process for the dean to hear such appeals or designate a committee, such as the executive committee or other body, that will hear the appeals and make a recommendation to the dean. If the dean would like legal consultation, the Office of University Counsel is available to help advise. Appeals should be rare, as instructors are expected to offer reasonable accommodations as required under Illinois law.

Information for Faculty on Accommodating Religious Observances contains helpful tips for application and best practices. Instructors who have questions may contact Stephen Bryan, Associate Vice Chancellor for Advocacy and Dean of Students, at 217-333-0050 or via email at

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter.


Sean C. Garrick
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

John Coleman
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

Danita M. Brown Young
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

This mailing approved by:
Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

sent to:
Academic Professionals, Faculty, Graduate Students & Incoming Graduate Students
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