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Policy on Religious Observances and Accommodations

Policy Category: Executive

Effective Date: 11/8/2023

Responsible Officer: Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Provost

History: Academic CatalogEmployee Policies and Procedures, Housing and Residential Education: Conduct, Policies, and Procedures

Responsible Office: Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Office of Institutional Equity; Office of the Provost

Location: Link


Wentworth Institute of Technology (hereinafter “The University”) respects the diverse faith traditions and religious beliefs of individuals within the University. This policy affirms the University’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive environment by recognizing the right to religious observance and expression for all Participants in a University Program or Activity.


This policy applies to all individuals who participate in a University Program or Activity (hereinafter “Participants in a University Program or Activity”). Participants in a University Program or Activity include, but are not limited to, students, employees/applicants, vendors, visitors, and volunteers affiliated with this policy.



The University recognizes the right to religious observance and expression. This includes excused academic and/or work absences and housing changes or modification. Denials of reasonable requests may be referred to the Office of Institutional Equity and/or addressed under the Non-discrimination Policy.


  1. Appeal Officer: The person reviewing the denial of an appeal of a request. 
  2. Interactive Process: The procedure through which the University works together with a Participant in a University Program or Activity for the purpose of identifying and coordinating reasonable accommodations. The Interactive Process may include a review of an individual’s specific needs and a discussion of possible accommodations. 
  3. Undue Hardship: An action requiring significant difficulty, expense, and disruption, or an action that would fundamentally alter policy and procedures or the nature of an educational program or activity.  


Academic Absences

  1. For information regarding class attendance, please see the information outlined in the Academic Catalog (Attendance) 

Non-Academic Requests 

  1. Students requesting an exception to the residency requirement, a change in housing, and/or a change in a meal plan must submit a request in writing to the Director of Housing and Residential Education. The university uses an Interactive Process to identify reasonable accommodations.  
  2. Wentworth will grant time off to those who request to observe the accepted religious custom of their faith. The employee (including student employees) must notify the supervisor in advance to make arrangements so that the employee's responsibilities will not be neglected. The employee may use a personal or vacation day. If the employee does not have any personal or vacation days available, the time off is without pay. Faculty are entitled to the process outlined in the Federation agreement (see VII). 

Appealing Denied Requests

  1. Students who were denied an academic request or disagree with a faculty member’s decision shall file an appeal with the Associate Dean of that school in which the course is in. 
  2. The appeal letter must include a summary of the requested accommodation and the grounds for appeal. Grounds for appeal include the following: 
  3. Students who were denied a housing exception and/or a change in housing or who disagree with the Director of Housing and Residential Education’s decision, may submit an appeal to the Vice President for Student Affairs. 
  4. Staff who were denied a request or who disagree with the supervisor’s decision regarding this policy may submit an appeal to the Chief Human Resource Officer or designee. Faculty may submit an appeal directly to the office of the Provost. 
    1. The denial was unreasonable; 
    2. The university failed to consider reasonable alternatives to the request(s)  
  5. The appeal officer shall review the appeal and issue a decision within 10 business days. 
  6. If upon review, the appeal officer determines that the appeal letter does bring forth sufficient grounds for appeal, the appeal officer may: 
    1. Affirm the decision, upholding the decision; 
    2. Approve the request; 
    3. Initiate an interactive process, for further consideration of the request 


  1. Where individuals have a right to reasonable accommodations under law and policy, denial of a request for a reasonable accommodation without an interactive process may constitute discrimination. Allegations of discrimination, including allegations of discrimination relating to religion, shall be addressed pursuant to the University’s Non-Discrimination Policy.  


  1. The university prohibits retaliation against persons exercising their rights under this policy, including rights related to religious observance and expression. Allegations of retaliation will be addressed pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Non-discrimination Policy.  

Additional Information & Related Documents

Interpretation and Revision


Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to the Executive Director of Equity and Compliance, within the Office of Institutional Equity. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this Policy.  

This policy shall be reviewed every 3 years, however minor changes and updates can be made at any time.   

Wentworth will typically apply the policy in place at the time it receives a report concerning the respected policy.  

Additionally, in instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used.  

Review and Revision History

This Policy was drafted and reviewed by representatives from the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Student Affairs, and Academics. It was approved by the President on 11/8/2023.