A lesson in policy and faith for U faculty

Rachel Pollack - University student

In response to Lolla Mohammed NurâÄôs Monday column, “Compromising faith for class,” IâÄôd like to point out that Muslims are not the only religious group that gets ignored when it comes to important holidays.

Jews âÄî myself included âÄî celebrate the High Holy Days, called Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in the early fall. This year, the celebrations fell during the first two weeks of class, causing me to miss one of the first class meetings of the semester. Thankfully, my professor understood and held my spot. However, I have a friend who was required to attend his lab when he wanted to be in temple services because there was no way he could be excused from it or make it up later. With the amount of diversity on this campus, I know Jews and Muslims cannot possibly be the only students affected by this issue.

To solve this problem, I recommend that the University of Minnesota remind its faculty that a religious celebration is a valid, recognized reason for an absence, makeup or extension.

IâÄôll quote it here, directly from the policy on Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences: “(1) Students will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances. Such circumstances include … religious observances.”

And what about the school work? “(4) If a student is absent due to circumstances identified in (1) and has complied with the notification requirement, the instructor may not penalize the student and must provide reasonable and timely accommodation or opportunity to make up exams or other course requirements that have an impact on the course grade.”

So, to the professor who refused Mohammed Nur her extension: You are in direct violation of the University policy regarding Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences. And to the one who refused to allow my friend to make up his lab: So are you.

Please, faculty, know that when we have a religious obligation to fulfill, it comes before your class. It has to. Christians get a massive break for Christmas âÄî let the rest of us have our few days to celebrate.