American River College recognizes that the diverse community it serves is interwoven with many faiths and religious traditions.
ARC is committed to providing an educational environment that respects the religious beliefs of its students and employees. Sensitivity to the significance of major religious observances (holy days) in the lives of individuals can be demonstrated through how we approach calendar-based planning processes.
How can you help? Here are some suggestions:
- Be mindful that there are many sacred days across all faiths that are not observed among the limited number of state-mandated holidays and locally approved non-service days that Los Rios acknowledges within its academic and work calendars.
- Consult an interfaith calendar or list of major religious observances when developing syllabi, scheduling trainings, and creating other types of date-oriented plans. Consider adjusting the timing of events, exam dates, major assignments, and other college-related activities that might create a conflict with an individual’s desire to practice their beliefs. In some cases, it may be helpful to also consider whether the content of a particular activity would conflict with tenets related to the observance (e.g., consuming food during a fasting period).
- Recognize that religion and religious observance is complex. People have varying levels of belief (or non-belief) and varying commitment to the ways in which their beliefs are practiced. Avoid assuming that all people who identify with a particular religion will observe holidays in the same manner. Rituals, traditions, fasts, work limitations, and other practices can vary greatly among different denominations, sects, or other subsets of the same religion.
- Invite students and employees to request reasonable religious accommodations. Phrase the invitation in a general manner that avoids singling out specific cultures, religions, or individuals.
- ARC is committed to providing an educational environment that respects the religious beliefs of its students and employees. It is our practice to make a sincere effort to provide reasonable religious accommodation upon request unless such an accommodation would create an undue hardship or infringe on the rights of others. Please communicate with your instructor, supervisor, or other appropriate person well in advance to request an accommodation and allow sufficient time to make arrangements.
- Increase your own awareness of interfaith topics, religious observances, and legal constraints by browsing the resources on ARC’s interfaith web page.
- Ask for assistance from your supervising administrator (e.g., dean) and/or the Office of Equity and Inclusion if you would like support in navigating a particular situation or need help finding creative solutions that can balance the interests of multiple faiths. It is also strongly recommended that a conversation occurs with the appropriate administrator if a request for accommodation appears to create undue hardship and/or may potentially be denied.
For additional context that led to the creation of this document, please refer to ARC’s Institutional Equity Plan. This document and other interfaith resources are not intended as legal guidance. They are provided with the intent to further ARC’s commitment to equitable education.