Saint Louis Community College (STLCC) is committed to creating an inclusive campus community that fosters a culture of equity and inclusion and also cultivates an understanding of different cultures. Moreover, the College is committed to nondiscrimination and equal opportunities in its admissions, educational programs, activities and employment. This commitment to equal opportunity is evident in how the College supports students regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation, in accordance with both state and federal laws and regulations. As part of this commitment, the College makes good faith efforts to accommodate a student’s religious practice or belief unless such accommodation would create undue hardship.
- A "reasonable accommodation” is any change in an academic course or program of study with respect to the way tasks or responsibilities are customarily done that enables a student to observe his or her religious practice or belief without creating undue hardship.
- A "religious practice or belief" is a practice or observance that includes moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong and that is sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.
- “Undue hardship” occurs when granting a requested accommodation would require significant expense or difficulty for the College, or would result in the inability of the student to perform an essential function of his or her course/program of study. The determination of undue hardship is dependent on the facts of each individual situation.
- A “creed” is an authoritative formula of religious beliefs or set of fundamental beliefs.
- An “essential function” is a fundamental academic element of a course or program of study for a student.
- “Good faith” is more than a negligible effort to accommodate the student’s request for religious accommodation. If the proposed accommodation does not eliminate the student’s religious conflict, the College demonstrates that any further accommodation would cause “undue hardship,” as defined above.
STLCC may provide a reasonable accommodation based on a student’s sincerely held religious belief. In making this determination, the College reviews a variety of factors, including whether the accommodation would create an undue hardship. A student requesting an accommodation is obligated to make the College aware of the need for a religious accommodation in advance. An accommodation request imposes responsibilities and obligations on both the College and the student requesting the accommodation. STLCC faculty are required, as part of their responsibility to their students and the College, to adhere to these guidelines to ensure full and fair implementation of our equal opportunity and diversity policies by reasonably accommodating individual religious practices or beliefs. Regardless of any accommodation that may be granted, STLCC students are responsible for satisfying all academic objectives, requirements and prerequisites as determined by the College.
Once an accommodation request is made, the College will explore reasonable accommodations to address the student’s religious belief or practice unless the request creates an undue hardship. The student requesting the accommodation is obligated to cooperate with the College’s attempts to accommodate the request. When more than one accommodation is possible, the College may select among any of the accommodations, provided the accommodation will effectively eliminate the religious conflict. It may be necessary for the College to request the employee or student to provide documentation or other authority to support the need for an accommodation based on the student’s religious practice or belief. The College may also need to discuss with the student the nature of the religious belief(s), practice(s), and accommodation with the religion’s spiritual leader (if applicable) or religious scholars to address the request for a religious accommodation.
A list of many religious observances and holidays of which the College is aware is posted on the website. Faculty members may verify dates by consulting published calendar of religious holidays and dates. Be aware that some observances begin the evening prior to the date listed.
Students who expect to miss classes, examinations or other assignments because of a religious practice or belief must be provided with a reasonable alternative opportunity to complete such academic responsibilities. It is the obligation of students to provide faculty with reasonable notice of the dates of religious observances on which they will be absent by submitting a Request for Accommodations for Religious Observance Form to their instructor early in the semester and no later than two weeks prior to the need for the accommodation. A student who submits a late Request for Accommodations for Religious Observance Form must show good cause for the late submission, and the late submission itself may be taken into account in determining whether the student has a religious practice or belief requiring accommodation and whether granting the request would create undue hardship.
- The instructor and the student should discuss what a reasonable accommodation should include in a given case. At a minimum, reasonable accommodations must provide that students who are absent on days of examinations or class assignments due to a religious observance have an opportunity to make up the work, without penalty, unless granting the make-up opportunity would create undue hardship.
- Instructors reserve the right to insist that course work to be missed should be completed prior to the anticipated absence, and in no way shall this policy be construed to relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence.
- If the instructor and student agree upon a reasonable accommodation, the accommodation is then documented and implemented.
- If there is no consensus on a reasonable accommodation, either party or both should seek the advice of the department or division chair. In those cases where a request for a religious accommodation is denied by the instructor, and there is no resolution through discussion with the unit chair, the student may request consideration of the matter by the appropriate Academic Dean. Where a timely request is made by the student but denied by the instructor, the resolution process shall be expedited as much as reasonably possible to ensure that a student pursuing a religious accommodation is not unduly disadvantaged by the passage of time.
- Excused absences from classes or examinations for religious observances will not be counted against any mandatory attendance requirements, but they do not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence. The instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to satisfactorily complete any alternative assignment or examination.
- If an accommodation of religious practice is denied, a student may appeal the decision in writing to the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs whose decision will be final. An appeal should be filed no more than 5 business days after the student receives notice of the denial of their request. Where a timely request is made by the student but denied by the instructor, the resolution process shall be expedited as much as reasonably possible to ensure that a student pursuing a religious accommodation is not unduly disadvantaged by the passage of time.