Equivalent Opportunity/Religious Absences

As students may be unable to attend classes on certain days because of religious beliefs, section 224-a of the Educational Law provides that:

• No person shall be expelled from or be refused admission as a student to an institution of higher education for the reason that he or she is unable, because of religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirements on a particular day or days.

• Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of religious beliefs, to attend classes on a particular day or days, be excused from any examination or any study or work requirements.

• It shall be the responsibility of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to make available to each student who is absent from school, because of religious beliefs, an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No fees shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such equivalent opportunity.

• If classes, examinations, study, or work requirements are held on Friday after 4:00 pm or Saturday, similar or makeup classes, examinations, study or work requirements shall be made available on other days, where it is possible and practicable to do so. No special fees shall be charged to the student for these classes, examinations, study, or work requirements held on other days.

• It shall be the duty of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to exercise the fullest measure of good faith. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any students because of their availing themselves of the provisions of this section.

• Any student who is aggrieved by the alleged failure of any faculty or administrative official to comply in good faith with the provisions of this section shall be entitled to maintain an action or proceeding in the supreme court of the county in which such institution of higher education is located for the enforcement of his or her rights under this section.

• As used in this section, the term “institution of higher education” shall mean schools under the control of the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York, or any community college.