Absence from Class for Religious Observances

Policy Number STU-001
Effective Date December 17, 2007
Responsible Office/Person Student Affairs
Related Policies
Additional History
Additional References

Policy Statement
University policy and Massachusetts state law require faculty to offer make-up assignments or exams to students who are absent for religious observance. Instructors must accept a student’s assertion of the need to be absent from class for religious reasons, but students are required to notify instructors in advance that they will miss class in order to observe a religious holiday.

As an aid to curriculum planning, the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost offer the following list of major religious observances. Please note that Jewish, Baha’i and some Muslim religious observances begin at sundown of the previous day.

Major Days of Religious Observance


Muharram (Islamic New Year)/M

Shiva Ratri (Worship of Shiva)/H

Naw-Ruz (Baha’i and Iranian New Year)/Ba

Ramanavami (Birth of Rama)/H

Hanamatsuri (Birth of Buddha)/B

First days of Passover/J

Baisakhi (Brotherhood-Sisterhood)/S

Good Friday (Crucifixion of Jesus)/C

Easter (Resurrection of Jesus)/C

First day Ridvan (Declaration of Baha’u’llah)/Ba


Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) J

Ramadan Begins /M

Yom Kippur (Atonement)/J

Sukkit (Festival of Tabernacles)/J

Diwali (Festival of Lights)/H

Eid al Fitr (End of Ramadan)/M

Birth of Baha’u’llah/Ba

Bodhi Day (Enlightment)/B

Eid al-Adha (Day of Sacrifice)/M

Christmas ( Birth of Jesus)/C (legal holiday) December 25th

*B=Buddhist; Ba=Baha’I; C=Christian; H=Hindu; J=Jewish; M=Muslim; S=Sikh

Students planning to be absent from class due to religious observance must notify their instructors at least one week in advance. In the event of a dispute between a student and a faculty member, either party should contact the department head.

The Division of Student Affairs, in collaboration with the Provost’s Office, will annually update the religious holidays.