At MCPHS, we are dedicated to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our educational and work environments. We respect the religious beliefs of all community members and are committed to providing reasonable religious accommodations to support their participation in academic and professional activities. This commitment applies to students, faculty, and staff, ensuring that they can engage in both religious observances and MCPHS programs.
Requests for Religious Accommodations
Students Request for Religious Accommodations
Students seeking documented absences for religious observances should follow the MCPHS Documented Absence Policy and complete the online absence form specific to their home campus. The form is available under the "How to Submit a Documented/Emergency Absence Request" section of the MCPHS Documented Absences webpage. Students are strongly encouraged to submit documented absence forms for religious observances at the beginning of each semester and in any event as early as possible.
Employees Requests for Religious Accommodations
Faculty and staff seeking time for religious observances can request time off using paid time off, as outlined in the MCPHS Employee Handbook. For any questions, they can contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expectations for Faculty based on Massachusetts Law
Faculty who are teaching in Massachusetts must provide religious accommodations to students, as mandated by state law (M.G.L. 151C, Section 2B). The law requires faculty to honor students' requests for absences or rescheduling of assignments due to religious belief or observance. This law provides:
Any student in an educational or vocational training institution, other than a religious or a denominational educational or vocational training institution, who is unable, because of his/her religious beliefs, to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, or work requirement on a particular day shall be excused from any such examination or study or work requirement, and shall be provided with an opportunity to make up such examination, study, or work missed because of such absence on any particular day; provided, however, that such makeup examination or work shall not create an unreasonable burden upon such school. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such opportunity. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his/her availing himself of the provisions of the sections.”
This law applies to all religious beliefs and requires faculty to make arrangements (e.g., make-up exam or quiz on an alternate date) for the student if they requested a documented absence for their religious beliefs. If a paper, project, or assignment is due on a date that falls on a religious holiday, the faculty member must work with the student to establish either an alternative due date or a date as close as possible to the assigned date, which must fall after the religious holiday. Faculty cannot require the student to submit the assignment, paper, or project early.
Faculty also may need to provide an extension for an additional day (or multiple days, depending on the holiday) if the student would be required to work on the assignment, paper, or project during the religious holiday to meet the assignment due date. However, if the student had a relatively long period of time to complete the assignment, an extension may not be warranted.
A student may also request a course modification for religious reasons. If the requested course modification would lower academic standards or require substantial modification to an academic program, however, a faculty member need not need to provide it. Faculty should discuss each request for a course modification with their Dean to determine how to address and respond to the student’s request.
- Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty
- What You Should Know: Workplace Religious Accommodation
- National Library of Medicine-Cultural Religious Competence in Clinical Practice
- Diversity Resources - Interfaith Calendar 2023
- Diversity for Social Impact- Diversity & Multicultural Calendar 2024
Our commitment to religious accommodations aligns with federal and state laws, ensuring a respectful and inclusive environment for all MCPHS Community members.