Religious Accommodation for Students

University Policy: 

I. Introduction

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is committed to diversity, nondiscrimination and inclusiveness, and to supporting its students, regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation, in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.  In general, state entities such as The University of North Carolina at Charlotte may enforce neutral rules of general applicability even if the rule may affect someone’s religious practice or belief. However, the University makes good faith efforts to accommodate a student’s religious practice or belief, unless such accommodation would create undue hardship.

II. Definitions

For the purposes of this Policy:

  1. A "reasonable accommodation” is any change in a University program or activity, including class attendance, with respect to the way tasks or responsibilities are customarily done that enables a student to observe their religious practice or belief without creating undue hardship.
  2. 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.
  3. “Undue hardship” occurs when granting a requested accommodation would require more than a minor expense or difficulty for the University, or would result in the inability of the student to perform an essential function or to fulfill an essential element of the University program or activity.  Examples of undue hardship include but are not limited to instances where the accommodation infringes on other students’ rights or benefits, impairs classroom or program safety, or causes other students to carry the accommodated student’s share of potentially burdensome work. The determination of undue hardship is dependent on the facts of each individual situation.

III. Policy

UNC Charlotte makes good faith efforts to accommodate a student’s religious practice or belief, unless such accommodation would create undue hardship.  In addition, under North Carolina law (NC General Statute 116-11(3a)), UNC Charlotte is required to (1) authorize a minimum of two excused absences each academic year for religious observances required by the faith of a student; and (2) provide students the opportunity to make up any tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance. Students must request such reasonable accommodations in accordance with the procedures in this Policy.  An accommodation request imposes responsibilities and obligations on both the University and the student requesting the accommodation.  

UNC Charlotte employees are required, as part of their responsibility to students and the University, to adhere to this Policy and to ensure its full and fair implementation by reasonably accommodating individual religious practices or beliefs.  Regardless of any accommodation that may be granted, UNC Charlotte students are responsible for satisfying all academic or other programmatic objectives, requirements and prerequisites as determined by the University.

IV. Procedure

  1. A student should request a religious accommodation directly from the University employee overseeing the University program or activity in question.
    1. For accommodations within an academic course, the student should ask the instructor of the course for an accommodation. If a student cannot identify the relevant University employee for a specific accommodation request or if the student is requesting an exception to a generally applicable University policy, the student may contact the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX (CRTIX) for assistance.
    2. The request should be made in writing and should state (i) the specific accommodation being requested, (ii) the religious practice or belief the student holds, (iii) how the requested accommodation enables the student to participate in their religious practice or belief, and (iv) the date(s) and/or frequency of the requested accommodation.
    3. The request should be submitted as far in advance as possible. The length of time between when the request is submitted and the date of the requested accommodation may affect the reasonableness of the requested accommodation.
  2. Within a reasonably prompt time after the student’s request, the University employee and the student should discuss what a reasonable accommodation should include in a given case and attempt to come to an agreement. At a minimum, reasonable accommodations must provide that students be given an opportunity to make up any tests or other work, without penalty, that was missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance.
  3. If the student and employee cannot agree on a reasonable accommodation, either or both should seek the advice of the department chair or department supervisor to assist with coming to a consensus. The department chair or department supervisor will consult with CRTIX prior to finalizing a resolution.
  4. Excused absences from classes, activities, 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.

V.  Compliance

Failure by an employee to comply with this Policy is a violation of University Policy and subject to disciplinary action in accordance with University Policy 501, Nondiscrimination and/or University Policy 801, Violation of University Policy.

Revision History: 
  • Interim approved August 27, 2010
  • Final approved October 26, 2010
  • Updated July 19, 2021
  • Revised April 26, 2023

Authority: Chancellor

Owner: Institutional Integrity

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