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This policy applies to students, faculty, staff, patients, visitors, third parties and other community members.

Policy Statement

Tufts University is committed to providing an academic and work environment that is respectful of the religious beliefs of its students, employees, patients, visitors and community members. As part of this commitment, Tufts will make good faith efforts to provide reasonable religious accommodations to those in our community whose sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with a university policy, procedure, or other academic or employment requirement unless such an accommodation would create an undue hardship or would fundamentally alter our work, program and/or mission.

Definitions

Religion or Creed

Includes traditional, organized religions but also sincerely held religious beliefs, including those that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect. All aspects of religious belief and observance that are sincerely held will be considered as part of this policy.

Religious Accommodation

A reasonable change in the work or academic environment that enables a student or employee to practice or otherwise observe a sincerely held religious practice or belief without undue hardship or fundamentally altering the educational, workplace or mission of the university.

A reasonable religious accommodation may include but is not limited to:

  • time for prayer during a work day
  • the ability to attend religious events or observe a religious holiday
  • or any necessary modification to university policy, procedure or other requirement for a student’s or employee’s (or prospective employee’s) religious beliefs, observance or practice, provided such accommodation is reasonable and does not cause undue hardship or create a fundamental alteration of the educational, workplace or mission of the university.
Undue Hardship

Significant difficulty or expense based on the university’s resources and circumstances in relationship to the cost or difficulty of providing a specific accommodation. Undue hardship may refer to financial difficulty in providing an accommodation or accommodations that are unduly expensive, substantial, disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter academic requirements, the nature or operation of the university’s business, or the essential functions of a job.

Accommodations which interfere with the safe and efficient operation of the workplace or campus or with a bona fide seniority system will often present an undue hardship.

Procedures for Seeking Religious Accommodation

All students may request a religious accommodation by making a written request for an accommodation to the OEO, an OEO liaison, an appropriate faculty member or other relevant administrator such as an Academic Dean in accordance with their Code of Conduct or Student Handbook.

All employees may request a religious accommodation by making a written request for an accommodation to the OEO, an OEO liaison, their department head or supervisor(s).

Once the request comes to the Office of Equal Opportunity, employees, students, patients, visitors, community members or third parties will be required to complete a formal accommodation request form and may be required to provide other documentation or information supporting the request.

Employees and students who anticipate being absent from work or class because of a religious observance must submit their request for time off in advance and as soon as they become aware of the need or at least ten (10) business days in advance.

Accommodation requests will be made on a case‐by‐case basis taking into account factors including but not limited to, the fundamental requirements of the applicable academic program and/or related technical standards, essential functions of an individual’s job, the duties of others in the department or job group, the requirements of the department or major, any impact of the accommodation, the duration of the accommodation request, and the availability of alternative accommodations.

The University will endeavor to protect the requesting student or employee’s privacy in evaluating and implementing the accommodation requested to the extent possible. However, following receipt of the request, the university official or administrator, supervisor(s) or designee(s) will discuss the accommodation request as necessary with the student or employee, and with select others in order to further evaluate and/or implement the accommodation. Approvals will be provided in writing to the requesting student or employee whenever possible.

Individuals with questions about this policy and/or its application may contact:

Johny Lainé
Accommodations Specialist, Office of Equal Opportunity
617‐627‐6363 | Johny.Laine@tufts.edu

The Office of Equal Opportunity is located at 196 Boston Avenue, 4th Floor, Medford, MA, 02155.