Religious Holidays: Policy and Calendar

You are here

Below find a memo sent from the University Provost and the University Chaplain to all entering students explaining Lehigh University's "Accommodation Policy" regarding religious holidays.  A current calendar of religious holidays can be found by clicking on the link attached to "Religious Holidays" below. 


Religious Holidays

Expanded Holiday Calendar


Lehigh University extends hospitality to all persons regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic or social background, and the Religious Accommodation policy expresses the University’s respect for diversity in religious matters.

Although non-sectarian, Lehigh University honors the free exercise of religion. People from a wide variety of religious traditions live and work at Lehigh, and the University acknowledges that the demands of religious observance in some traditions may cause conflicts with classroom and work schedules. Like many other colleges and universities, Lehigh has adopted a policy to accommodate those who encounter conflicts between the demands of religious observance and the demands of work or study. This "accommodation policy" acknowledges the right of those who live and work and study at Lehigh to engage in religious observances, and the University is pledged to honor the exercise of that right.

This accommodation policy governs religious holidays. The university policy is to support any member of the Lehigh community who requests an absence due to the demands of religious holiday observance. Of course, nothing in this policy exempts a student from meeting course requirements or completing assignments, so the student will have to negotiate with the instructor any make-up work.

Faculty should be aware that in the fall semester students from various traditions may request accommodations as they refrain from work or ordinary secular activities, and this may include time spent traveling home for holiday observance.  How specific holidays are observed varies within traditions and even among families, and as a courtesy to the campus we note Jewish holidays that might affect the regular work and study activities of members of our community.  Please note that Jewish holidays begin the evening before the listed date, at sundown, and include important observances during those evenings.

Accommodations are to be dealt with on the basis of individual requests from students. Recall that religious holidays are numerous, and no holiday is privileged above another for the purposes of the Lehigh policy. For more information you may consult the calendar of religious holidays found on this website (see below). 

If you encounter a schedule conflict with your course work due to the demands of religious observance, here is what you should do:

 1.  Talk  with your instructor and indicate that you will be absent from class due to observance of religious holidays.

 2.  Arrange with the instructor to complete assignments.

 3.  If you run into difficulties, including a refusal to grant you an excused absence, please call the University Chaplain, Dr. Lloyd Steffen, at x83877 or e-mail him at lhs1.  The  Chaplain will speak with the faculty person, explain the accommodation policy adopted by the University and enforced by the Provost, and work to resolve any difficulties.

Lehigh’s Religious Accommodation Policy is published in the Student Handbook and all students have access to an online copy. Any questions about the Religious Accommodation policy should be directed to the University Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Lloyd Steffen (

Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation in abiding by this policy.

_________________________                _____________________________ 
     Nathan Urban, Provost                         Lloyd Steffen, University Chaplain