Office of the University Registrar

Religious Accommodations Policy

University of Washington Religious Accommodations Policy

It is the policy of the University of Washington to reasonably accommodate students’ religious observances in accordance with RCW 28B.137.010.

The law requires that educational institutions must develop policies to accommodate student absences to allow students to take holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization, so that students’ grades are not adversely impacted by the absences. The law also requires that UW post information about its policy on its website, and that faculty include the policy or a link to the policy in course or program syllabi (sample language below).

Faculty must reasonably accommodate students who, due to the observance of religious holidays, expect to be absent or endure a significant hardship during certain days of the course or program. “Reasonably accommodate” is defined as coordinating with the student on scheduling examinations or other activities necessary for completion of the program and includes rescheduling examinations or activities or offering different times for examinations or activities.

Any student seeking reasonable accommodations must provide written notice to the Office of the University Registrar, who administers this process on behalf of the provost, of the specific dates of absence due to religious accommodation, within the first two weeks of the beginning of the course.

Religious Accommodation Request form (UWNetID required)

Students who have requested and been denied a religious accommodation and wish to file a complaint should contact the University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO). UCIRO is responsible for investigating complaints that a University employee has violated the University’s nondiscrimination and/or non-retaliation policies, including a failure to accommodate a student under this policy.

Required Syllabus Language

State law requires faculty to include language about religious accommodations in syllabi. The following language closely mirrors that of the law itself and was developed in close collaboration with Faculty Senate and the AGs office.

Required Syllabus Language: [DO NOT AMEND] “Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodations-policy/). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/).”