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Religious Accommodations

Bentley Policy on Religious Observances

Bentley University is committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive campus culture. We recognize the diversity of religious traditions represented in the campus community, and affirm the rights of students to receive reasonable accommodations when their sincerely held religious observances conflict with an academic requirement, except when such an accommodation would create an undue hardship. We offer reasonable religious accommodations in accordance with Massachusetts state law and Bentley core values.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 151C, Section 2B states:

Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work requirement which he may have missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his availing himself of the provisions of this section. A copy of this section shall be published by each institution of higher education in the catalog of such institution containing the list of available courses.

The following are guidelines for students and faculty to follow in order to arrive at an agreed upon accommodation:

Student Information

If a student anticipates being unable to attend class, take an exam, or turn in an assignment because of a religious observance, they are strongly encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors at the outset of the semester, but not less than two weeks before the day of the religious observance in order to ensure that the faculty member and the student can adequately determine an appropriate accommodation. Students are expected to work with the faculty member to identify an accommodation that satisfies the specific need of the student while maintaining the necessary academic requirements.  In general, reasonable religious observance accommodations will be made for the day of the religious observance but not for any days preceding or succeeding it. 

Academic Services is a resource to students and faculty when determining reasonable accommodations for religious observances. Students and faculty can reach out to Academic Services at any time with questions regarding how to agree upon a reasonable accommodation. A student is encouraged to work with their professors directly, but they may also choose to work solely with Academic Services, who will then liaise with their professor. Once an accommodation is agreed upon, that agreement should be documented in writing; an email between the student and professor can serve as such documentation.

Faculty Information

Faculty are expected to respect the religious traditions of their students and make reasonable accommodations when academic requirements conflict with a student’s sincerely held religious beliefs or practices, unless when such accommodations would cause undue hardship. Faculty should not expect the student to disclose their religious affiliation in order to receive a religious accommodation. Faculty are expected to work with the student to identify an accommodation that meets the student’s need and those of the class and that maintains equity for all students in the class. A day missed under this accommodation cannot be counted against the attendance policy.

Academic Services is a resource to students and faculty when determining reasonable accommodations for religious observances. Students and faculty can reach out to Academic Services at any time with questions regarding how to agree upon a reasonable accommodation. A student is encouraged to work with their professors directly, but they may also choose to work solely with Academic Services, who will then liaise with their professor. Once an accommodation is agreed upon, that agreement should be documented in writing; an email between the student and professor can serve as such documentation.