On Wednesday, Jan. 10, the ASI Board of Directors voted to pass two resolutions titled #18-04: Resolution to Support Dining Accommodations for Religious Holidays and #18-05: Resolution to Support Academic Accommodations for Religious Holidays.
Resolution #18-04 recommends that Cal Poly Campus Dining provide religious holiday-specific food through dining services for those required to have a dining plan. The resolution also proposes that Campus Dining conduct surveys and focus groups with religious groups on campus to best accommodate religious fasting and holiday-specific foods. The resolution passed unanimously.
“The dining resolution calls for Campus Dining to provide religious holiday-specific foods in the dining market so students don’t have to go off campus to buy food for their holidays,” board representative for the College of Science and Mathematics and statistics senior Mitchell Collins said. “Additionally, it calls for dining to have later hours on religious holidays that have daytime fasting.”
Resolution #18-05 recommends that Cal Poly create a comprehensive policy pertaining to religious holiday considerations and accommodations, including opportunities for students to take an early morning final when fasting during daytime periods of finals week for religious holidays. The resolution also proposes that the University require professors to excuse a minimum of two absences for religious holidays each quarter, with student notification of potential absences one week prior. It passed with 26 in the affirmative, one opposed, and one abstention.
“As a Muslim woman on this campus, I was fed up with the lack of attention this campus was giving to accommodating students who don’t identify with the religion that the majority of students at Cal Poly identify to,” Secretary of Inclusivity and Diversity on the ASI Executive Cabinet and agricultural business senior Nimrah Aslam said. “I wanted to make a change, and I felt that these resolutions were one step closer to making Cal Poly a more inclusive space.”
In fall 2017, ASI Student Government administered a survey to a variety of religious groups and clubs to gather student feedback on their experiences celebrating religious holidays. Survey highlights were as follows:
Of the 181 students surveyed, 57 students purchased religious holiday specific food off campus while paying for a dining plan.
- 16 students had a professor refuse to reschedule an exam due to a religious holiday.
- 45 surveyed students have reported fasting while taking an exam, including nine students who have taken over five exams while fasting.
- 29 percent of students surveyed who have fasted for religious holidays during class stated that their student success was negatively impacted due to “unexcused absences taken due to observation of a religious holiday.”
“This has been an issue for students of minority religions on campus for many years,” Collins said. “ASI felt it was important to stand with those students and ask for better. We hope that these two resolutions can help improve the experience of many students on campus.”