2019-2020 Catalog Revisions

Religious Accommodation

It is the policy of City University of Seattle to reasonably accommodate students' religious observances in accordance with Washington State RCW.28B.137.010.

The law requires that educational institutions must develop policies to accommodate  student absences to allow students to take holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization, so that students' grades are not adversely impacted by the absences.

The law also requires that the University post information about its policy on its website, and that the policy or a link to the policy be located in course syllabi. 

Definitions

Religion or Creed: Includes traditional, organized religions but also religious beliefs, including those that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect. All aspects of religious belief and observance that are sincerely held will be considered part of this policy.

Religious Practice or Belief: A sincerely held practice or observance that includes moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong, most commonly in the context  of the cause, nature and purpose of the universe. Religion includes not only traditional, organized religions, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal religious institution or sect, or only subscribed to by a small number of people. Social, political, or economic philosophies, as well as mere personal preferences, are not considered to be religious beliefs.

Religious Accommodation: A reasonable change in the academic environment that enables a student to practice or otherwise observe a sincerely held religious practice or belief without undue hardship on the class, program or University. A reasonable religious accommodation may include, but is not limited to: time for prayer during class day; the ability to attend religious events or observe a religious holiday; and/or any necessary modification to University policy, procedure or other requirement for a student’s religious beliefs, observance or practice, provided such accommodation is reasonable and does not cause undue hardship.

Undue Hardship: Significant difficulty or expense and related circumstances in relationship to the cost or difficulty of providing a specific accommodation. Undue hardship may refer to financial difficulty in providing an accommodation or accommodations that are unduly expensive, substantial, disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter academic requirements, the nature or operation of the University's business, or the essential functions of the classroom. Accommodations which interfere with the safe and efficient operation of the classroom or campus will often present an undue hardship.

Procedure

A student seeking reasonable accommodation must submit a Religious Accommodation Request Form to the Office of Student Services by the 20% mark of the course (i.e. day 3 of a two week course, day 7 of a five week course, and day 14 of a ten-week course). Students are encouraged to review the calendar for all holidays/holy days at the beginning of the quarter to make accommodation requests as early as possible.

In cooperation with the faculty member and/or program director, or designee, the accommodation request will be reviewed and the student’s request responded to within a reasonable time. A reasonable time period should take into consideration the timeliness of the request as well as the imminent nature of the request.

Accommodation request determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis taking into account factors, including but not limited to: the fundamental requirements of the applicable academic program and/or related technical standards, the requirements of the department or major, any impact of the accommodation, the duration of the accommodation request, and the availability of alternative accommodations.

Students who have requested and been denied a religious accommodation and wish to file a complaint may submit a formal complaint to the VP of Student Services. 

(Policy 2300.21)