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Religious Holy Days

The University of Houston respects the religious observances of students even though they may conflict with university class meetings, assignments, or examinations. Students whose religious beliefs prohibit class attendance or the completion of specific assignments on designated dates may request an excused absence. If the student notifies the instructor of the classes which conflict with religious holy days by the fifteenth calendar day of each semester (eighth calendar day for summer terms), the student will be excused. Eligible religions are those whose places of worship are exempt from property taxation. Detailed procedures and copies of the state law are available in the offices of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean of Students, and the A.D. Bruce Religion Center. Using the general petition form, available in the Office of Registration and Academic Records, students should request excused absences due to religious holy days, obtain the signature of each of their professors, and turn in the form at the Office of Registration and Academic Records.

Current Law:

§4.4 Student Absences on Religious Holy Days

(a) Under Texas Education Code, §51.911, all institutions of higher education shall excuse a student from attending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day, including travel for that purpose. A student whose absence is excused under this subsection may not be penalized for that absence and shall be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment from which the student is excused within a reasonable time after the absence.

(b) Each institution of higher education shall develop and include in its official bulletins, catalogs, and other appropriate publications a statement regarding its policies and procedures for all excused absences. Policies and procedures for absences due to religious holy days shall be consistent with (or no more arduous than) the institution's policies and procedures relating to other excused absences.

(c) Texas Education Code, §51.911 defines a religious holy day. If a student and an instructor disagree about the nature of the absence being for the observance of a religious holy day as defined therein, or if there is similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a reasonable time to complete any missed assignments or examinations, either the student or the instructor may request a ruling from the Dean, Graduate and Professional Studies of the institution or his or her designee. The student and instructor shall abide by the decision of the Dean, Graduate and Professional Studies or his/her designee.

(d) Each institution may exclude from these policies and procedures any student absence for religious holy days which may interfere with patient care.

Source Note: The provisions of this §4.4 adopted to be effective May 27, 2003, 28 TexReg 4107; amended to be effective February 24, 2004, 29 TexReg 1659