Goal 1: Advocate for Student Voices

Under 

Religious Observances

From SGA:

Purpose

To work with the administration to change the religious observance policy at Florida State University to ensure students don't have to sacrifice their religious observances over their academics. As well as to increase dining options on campus to not only include more vegetarian and vegan options but also to include more dining options in line with religious observances.

History

The Florida State University policy on observance of religious work-restricted holy days provides that students shall, upon notifying their instructor within the first two weeks of the semester, be excused from class to observe a religious work-restricted holy day of their faith. While students will be held responsible for the material covered in their absence, each student shall be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up the work missed. In particular, most students are not familiar with the requirement that they have to give their entire calendar of religious holidays to their professor within the first 2 weeks of the semester. Additionally, religious holidays based on a lunar calendar can change annually.

Tangibles given

Through advocacy efforts of the Executive Branch the Faculty Senate passed an updated Religious Observance Policy in September, where Student Body President Steinberg spoke to the Faculty Senate on the importance of this topic and the necessary changes. Changing the policy by removing 'work restricted' and changing the policy from notifying a student's professor from originally in the first week of the semester to two weeks prior to the holiday. Additionally, the 71st Student Senate passed Bill 97 in regards to religious observance within the Student Government Association

Self-Reported Status: 

Complete

Our Verified Status: 

Complete

Grade:

B

Evaluation Metric

More awareness of the 2-week notification policy for religious exemptions. More dining options friendly towards religious dietary restrictions.

Action Log

  • 10/16/19 - Self-reported as complete

  • 10/19/19 - Verification requested

  • 11/3/19 - Noted that the 2019 FSU Dining Survey did not include any questions about religious observances in meal selections on campus

  • 11/4/19 - At Executive Cabinet Meeting, Student Body President Evan Steinberg presneted evidence of substantial change within 2-week notification policy for religious exemptions. B grade assigned

Grade Explanation

Before this change in policy, students were required to submit in advance a calendar of all religious observances in the first two weeks of the semester. The Faculty Senate has now amended this, allowing students to notify their professors up to two weeks before the religious observance occurs. In addition, the condition of an observance requiring to be "work restricted" was also removed, creating a more inclusive definition of what holy days students are allowed to take off.


On Wednesday, September 18th, 2019, the Faculty Senate met and the meeting minutes show the following evidence: The Faculty Senate adopted the new Religious Holy Day Observance Policy. It is unknown when this takes effect.


On Wednesday, February 26th, 2020, Florida State University Administration supported the claim that SGA advocated for the Updated Religous Observance Policy. An announcement approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs, confirmed SGA's advocacy and the passing of the policy through the Faculty Senate. The announcement confirms that students have two weeks before the religious holy day observance to notify their teachers, students will be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up any work missed, and instructors nor administrators may penalize students for absences due to their observances. 


The original platform point from SGA lists two metrics: More awareness of the observance policy, and more faith-friendly dining options. The observance policy change is incredibly beneficial for affected students, but the original promise must be followed through in all parts in order for an A grade to be assigned.

Recommended Improvements

The expansion of dining accomodations on campus in order to provide more options for students with religious dietary requirements, as per the original platform point, will yield an A grade.

Platform Point Input/Feedback Form