In order to create an atmosphere that is supportive of religious observance by all members of the Hamilton College community, faculty and administrators shall exercise the fullest measure of good faith to insure that students will be able to fulfill their religious obligations and practices.

Every effort should be made not to schedule College-wide events on major religious holidays; faculty are encouraged to consider conflicts with major religious holidays as they plan their courses and to avoid scheduling mandatory events on these days unless to avoid the conflict would cause undue hardship. In order to assist in realizing this goal, the Office of the VP/Dean shall distribute each year in the Red Book a list of major religious holidays and other pertinent information to the College community.

In compliance with New York Education Law pertaining to institutions of higher education, Hamilton College affirms that “…each student who is absent from school, because of his or her religious beliefs, must be given an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days.” Further as provided by this law, “no adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his or her availing himself or herself of the provisions of this section.”

Students have the responsibility of notifying faculty members, at the beginning of each semester, of classes or course requirements that will conflict with religious observances. Students and faculty members are expected to exercise flexibility in negotiating alternative arrangements; students are responsible for making up the work that they miss but will be allowed to do so without penalty, provided that they do so within the terms of their arrangement with the instructor. Faculty members are expected to inform students before the Add deadline if there are requirements for the course, such as field trips or performance dates that are inflexible.

Coaches and athletes are expected to make similar negotiations concerning conflicts between religious observances and practices and contests. Student organizations should inform themselves of potential conflicts with religious holidays in scheduling meetings and requiring attendance at extracurricular events.

For clarification about the application of this policy, students may consult New York State Education Law, section 224-a, their advisors, a chaplain or member of the Chapel Board, or a dean.

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