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Religious Accommodations

The CUNY Religious Accommodation Policy is part of its larger Reasonable Accommodations and Academic Adjustments policy.

CUNY “Procedures for Implementing Reasonable Accommodations and Academic Adjustments” dated 9/21/2016 supersedes the Procedures for Implementing Reasonable Accommodations at CUNY (effective 6/1/2005).

A. Requests for Accommodations

1. Students requesting a religious accommodation should contact the Office for Student Affairs at the College or unit in which they are enrolled. The Chief Student Affairs Officer, or a designee, and the student will engage in an interactive process with the goal of finding an acceptable accommodation.

2. Consistent with New York State Education Law § 224-a, students who are absent from school because of a religious belief will be given the equivalent opportunity, without any additional fee charged, to register for classes or make up any examination, study or work requirements missed because of such absence on any particular day or days.

3. Employees and applicants requesting a religious accommodation should contact the Office of Human Resources at the College or unit where they are employed or applying. The Director of Human Resources, or a designee, and the employee/applicant will engage in an interactive process with the goal of finding an acceptable accommodation. Classified civil service candidates who are required to take an exam or attend a hiring pool and are seeking an accommodation should follow the written instructions provided on the exam application, hiring pool instructions, or contact the HR Advisory Services unit in University Human Resources.

4. Individuals requesting accommodations may be required to submit an intake form. In the case of requests for religious accommodations, the interactive process may include a consideration of a variety of factors, such as the individual’s religious practices and the functions and requirements of the academic program or job. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to, flexible arrival and/or departure times, permission to make up a test or lecture, leave or assignment changes, time and/or space to pray, or an accommodation relating to appearance or dress.

5. CUNY generally will not question that a request for religious accommodation is based on a sincerely held belief. However, if CUNY has genuine reason to doubt that a belief qualifies as religious, or is sincerely held, CUNY may make a limited inquiry, asking for supporting documentation. The documentation submitted may include the requestor’s first-hand explanation, or explanations from others, such as a religious official or clergy member, who are aware of the religious practice or belief.

6. A grant or denial of the request must be made in as soon as practicable, taking into account the urgency of the request, and sent in writing to the individual making the request, either stating the accommodation, or for denials, the reason(s) the request was denied.

B. Appeals

Students, employees, and applicants may appeal a denial of their accommodation request by filing a complaint with the Chief Diversity Officer at their College or unit. The Chief Diversity Officer, or a designee, will mediate to try to resolve the issues between the individual and the College to find an acceptable accommodation. If a mutually acceptable accommodation cannot be determined, then the Chief Diversity Officer, or a designee, will investigate the complaint and make a recommendation to the College President, or if the employee works at the Central Office, then to the Senior Vice Chancellor for University Human Resources. The College President or Senior Vice Chancellor for University Human Resources will make the final determination concerning the complaint.If the employee is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the employee may discuss the matter with a union representative and exercise any rights available under such agreement.