Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan
calendar conflicts in Fall 2010
ROSH HASHANAH, the Jewish New Year, falls during the first week of classes this year (2010). This Jewish "High Holiday" begins Wednesday evening, September 8th (the second day of classes) and ends Friday night, September 10th.
RAMADAN, the Islamic holy month, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, concludes with the EID AL-FITR celebration on September 10th.
University policy ensures that no student will be penalized as a result of religious observance, but requires advance notification. So if you'll be going home to celebrate with your family, or participating in religious activities on campus, you should do your best to notify your instructors at least a week in advance, by email, to let them know you'll be missing class.
(Hillel will offer a variety of Jewish High Holiday services and meals. The Muslim Students Association and Hampshire Mosque offer Ramadan iftar and Jummah prayer. See below for details.)
Since it's the first week of classes, we recognize that it will be difficult for some students to notify their instructors in advance. The Provost and the Faculty Senate have asked faculty members to be understanding, and to do everything possible to ensure that no student is penalized in any way as a result of their holiday observance. (The relevant documents are reprinted at the bottom of this page, under "Official Documents")
In addition to the classes for which you're already registered, if you're on a waiting list for an oversubscribed class, you should send an email to the instructor to let them know you want to be kept on the waiting list even though you may not be able to attend class the first week.
How do I find my instructor's email address?
You can find the email addresses for your instructors on the University's online directory ("PeopleFinder").
Who can I contact for assistance if I encounter any problems?
If you encounter any problems, you can contact the Ombuds Office, the department head, or the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life for assistance.
Office of Religious and Spiritual Life... 413-545-9642 or by email
Ombuds Office... 413-545-0867 or by email
JEWISH HIGH HOLIDAY SERVICES AND MEALS
For a complete schedule of Jewish High Holiday services and holiday meals on campus, contact UMass Hillel.
RAMADAN AND EID-AL-FITR ACTIVITIES
For more information about Ramadan iftar, Jummah prayer, and the Eid-al-Fitr celebration, contact the Muslim Students Association or Hampshire Mosque.
OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS pertaining to this calendar conflict:
Letter to faculty from Dean of Undergraduate Education
and Deputy Provost John Cunningham (5/6/10)
"Colleagues... I'm writing to alert you to a rare procedural aspect of the Fall 2010 semester. It involves the first several days of classes and a major religious observance for many in our community.
"Rosh Hashanah begins Wednesday evening, Sept 8th and ends Friday evening, Sept 10th... I want to be sure that all faculty members are aware of this conflict, and to understand that University policy (and state law) require that no student should be penalized on account of a religious observance. And, I'm confident that you would not want such an outcome even absent policy or law.
"The policy requires students to provide their instructors with one week's advance notice although that will not be easily accomplished for many students. We will be instructing observant students who know their schedules to email or otherwise try to contact the instructor of record over the summer and that will help you to manage reasonable accommodations for them as well as the students who are not able to contact you.
"Please do not unilaterally remove from your roster or your waitlist any student who has contacted you about a religious observance on the three days noted (Weds, Sept. 8th and/or Thursday, Sept. 9th and/or Friday, Sept. 10th). Some may also contact you about being added to your waitlist as if they were able to speak to you in class and I ask that you add them appropriately. It will be more difficult to discern whether others missing class on those days are observing Rosh Hashanah, so please be as flexible and cautious as you can when removing students....
"Thank you in advance for your attention to this most unusual scheduling circumstance.
John Cunningham, Dean of Undergraduate Education
Read John Cunningham's entire letter
Faculty Senate motion concerning Fall 2010 conflict with Rosh Hashanah
On May 6, 2010, the Faculty Senate adopted a motion which noted that "In 2010, because of a late Labor Day and an early Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah will begin on the day after the first day of class of the Fall semester... Under the circumstances, instructors should be flexible about the one-week notice requirement and cautious about dropping students for non-attendance during the first week of classes...." Read the full motion
For more information...
contact Larry Goldbaum in the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
by email or phone 413-545-9642.