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University Policy on Class Absence for Religious Observances

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. University policy and Massachusetts state law require faculty to offer make-up assignments or exams to students who are absent for religious observance.

Students planning to be absent from classes 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 or the Ombuds Office, tel. (413) 545-0867.

As an aid to curriculum planning, the Office of the Provost offers the following list of major religious observances for the 2010 calendar year. Please note that Jewish, Baha’i, and some Muslim religious observances begin at sundown of the previous day. This list is not exhaustive. Faculty should also consult the more complete list of Days of Religious Observance available at the Religious Affairs Committee’s Web site.

Major Days of Religious Observance 2010


Shiva Ratri (Worship of Shiva)/H February 12 Fri
Naw-Ruz (Baha’i and Iranian New Year)/Ba March 21 Sun
Ramanavami (Birth of Rama)/H March 24 Wed
Passover/J March 30-April 6 Tue-Tue
Good Friday (Crucifixion of Jesus)/C April 2 Fri
Easter (Resurrection of Jesus)/C April 4 Sun
Hanamatsuri (Birth of Buddha)/B April 8 Thu
Baisakhi (Brotherhood – Sisterhood)/S April 14 Wed
First day of Ridvan (Declaration of Baha’u’llah)/Ba April 21 Wed

Shavuot/J May 19-20 Wed-Thu
Wesak (in celebration of the Buddha)/B May 27 Thu
Ramadan begins/M August 11 Fri

FALL 2010
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)/J September 9-10 Thu-Fri
Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)/M September 10 Fri
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)/J September 18 Sat
Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles)/J September 23-29 Thu-Wed
Diwali/H November 5 Fri
Birth of Baha’u’llah/Ba November 12 Fri
Eid al-Adha (Day of Sacrifice)/M November 16 Tue
Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)/M December 7 Tue
Bodhi Day (Enlightenment)/B December 8 Wed
Christmas (Birth of Jesus)/C (legal holiday) December 25 Sat

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