Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Spiritual Life



The following policies are in place in an effort to create an affirming environment for persons of faith at Southwestern.  If you have any questions about these policies, please contact us.


Policies on Religious Holiday Absences

*Please note that this policy is a separate policy from the “University Policies Related To Religious Observance Days and University Events” that is also included in the next section.  Students may select days of religious observance absence according to their own preference and need.


The following is the Religious Holidays Policy, as stated in the Student Handbook and Faculty Handbook:

Religious Holidays Absence:  Southwestern University recognizes that it has students from a variety of religious and cultural traditions that have special days of observance or celebration that may take students out of their regular activities on certain days during the school year. Since the academic calendar does not always coincide with these days, the following policy is to be followed in order to facilitate student absences due to cultural and religious observances.

Students’ classroom responsibilities:

§  As far in advance as possible, the student is expected to notify the professor(s) or instructor(s) of the class(es) to be missed

§  The student is expected to learn what assignments or exams are due or will be assigned on those dates and negotiate with the professor(s) or instructor(s) alternate times for fulfilling those requirements. Students should be prepared to fulfill the requirements prior to the class(es) to be missed


In the Staff Handbook under Employee Benefits - Holidays:

The University will make reasonable accommodations to employees who wish to observe religious holidays that do not fall on one of the “traditional” holidays by allowing the employee to take such a day off.  This time off may be without pay or employees may use accrued vacation time.  In addition, the President may designate certain religious holidays that may be substituted for other holidays.

In working with student employees, the practice may also include a change in work hours, in a given pay period, to accommodate absences due to religious observances. 


Faculty Absence from Classes and Substitutes Policy, as stated in the Faculty Handbook:

Faculty members are expected to meet all classes for which they are scheduled.  Necessary absences should be reported in advance to the department chair.  Department chairs should report their own absences to the Provost.  In cases of extended absences, the department chair should notify the Provost of the Dean of the School of Fine Arts, when applicable, about the use of substitute teachers.

Policies on Scheduling Special Events and Priority Events 

(Text below is taken from the Faculty Handbook) 


All academic scheduling (classes, labs, etc.) is handled by the Registrar’s Office and takes precedence in event scheduling and facilities usage. The Academic Calendar is approved a year in advance by the Academic Affairs Council and the Faculty. No events involving students are to be scheduled during the periods designated as “study days” and “final examinations” at the end of each semester. Meetings involving faculty may be scheduled during the period from the beginning of final examinations through the deadline for semester grades only if there is urgent semester-end business to be transacted. Exceptions to these restrictions must be approved in advance by the Provost.


Requests for event space should not be made if the event coincides with the University Priority Events. Priority events are those events to which no student, faculty, or staff member may be denied the opportunity to attend because of a conflicting meeting or event.

  • All Chapel Services (including Candlelight Services)
  • All Homecoming Activities
  • Parent Orientation
  • Registration
  • The Brown Symposium
  • Commencement and other special convocations (Matriculation and Honors Convocation)
  • Study Days and Final Examinations
  • Town Meetings
  • Shilling Lecture Series
  • Writer’s Voice


Scheduled Chapel Services

Thursdays (during reg. semester)       Weekly Chapel                                    11:25am-12:15pm

Tuesdays (during regular semester)    Tuesday Night Worship                         9:00pm - 10:00pm

Sunday, August 18, 2013                  Orientation Worship Service                   11:00am-12:00pm

Sunday, November 3, 2013                Homecoming Worship Service                11:00am-12:00pm

Thursday, December 5, 2013             Candlelight Advent Service                      6:00pm & 8:00pm

Saturday, May 10, 2014                    Baccalaureate Service                          10:30am-11:30am


University Policies Related To Religious Observance Days and University Events

In respect of diverse faiths and to enable as many persons as possible to attend major University functions, a listing of commonly observed religious holidays, holy days and observances have been identified, agreed upon and listed here.  The University functions listed below are not to take place during the agreed upon religious observance days.  If an event is scheduled on one of these days, the event must be re-scheduled or canceled.

Please note that the major University events listed are:

  • Events that persons in our community are required to attend and/or
  • Events of a campus-wide nature that do not have mandatory attendance; however, persons miss out on a very important opportunity of inclusion in the campus community by not attending.
  •   One time opportunities for persons to participate and/or receive the services rendered on that day.

The list of religious observance dates and major University functions are listed below and may be revised as the needs of our community change.


Religious observance dates identified for this policy                          

Rosh Hashana
Eid al-Fitr
Christmas Day
Yom Kippur
Eid al-Adha
Good Friday
Pesach (Passover)
Easter Day


2013-2014 Religious Observance Dates (in chronological order)

* The Islamic dates are tentative based on estimates of the visibility of the lunar crescent.  As such, these observances may start slightly earlier or later than predicted.  For assistance with dates go to 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Eid al-Fitr* begins at sundown
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Eid al-Fitr*
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown
Thu. & Fri., September 5-6, 2013
Rosh Hashanah
Friday, September 13, 2013
Yom Kippur begins at sundown
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Yom Kippur
Monday, October 14, 2013
Eid al-Adha* begins at sundown
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Eid al-Adha*
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2014
Pesach begins at sundown
Tue. & Wed., April 16-17, 2014
Pesach (Passover, first two days)
Friday, April 18, 2014
Good Friday
Sunday, April 20, 2014 

University Functions not to be scheduled on religious observance dates stated above

  • Board of Trustees Meetings
  • Board of Visitors Meetings
  • Brown Symposium
  • Career Fairs
  • Commencement and other special convocations
  • Family Days
  • Final Examinations
  • Housing sign-ups
  • Homecoming
  • Matriculation Convocation
  • Prospective Student Visit Programs
  • Scholarship Interview Days
  • Shilling Lecture
  • Student Orientation/Parent Orientation
  • Student Forums
  • Writer’s Voice