No university student, staff or faculty member shall, on the basis of religion, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any university program or activity. Persons who do not have sincerely held religious beliefs are also protected from religious discrimination on that basis.
See examples of prohibited discrimination for more examples of the types of religious discrimination prohibited by the university.
Harassment based on religious principles can take many forms; however, there are two general categories of religious harassment: a) coercion of participation or non-participation in religious activities, and b) hostile environment.
Coercion of Religious Participation or Non-Participation
No one with the authority to affect a student’s or employee’s status at the university may, explicitly or implicitly, insist that the student or employee participate in religious activities or hold particular religious views.
The university will not tolerate the creation or existence of an environment that is hostile on the basis of religion. Such a hostile environment is defined as harassing conduct (e.g., physical, verbal, graphic or written) related to religion that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to (1) interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs and activities or (2) unreasonably interfere with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment. For example, the repeated use of derogatory religious terms in an abusive manner can constitute a hostile learning and/or working environment. For further discussion of what constitutes a hostile environment, please refer to the discussion of hostile environment in Section XIII.
The university may provide a reasonable accommodation based on a person’s sincerely held religious belief. In making this determination, the university reviews a variety of factors, including whether the accommodation would create an undue hardship. The accommodation request imposes responsibilities and obligations on both the individual requesting the accommodation and the university. The person requesting the accommodation is obligated to make the university aware of the need for a religious accommodation.
Once a request is made, the university will explore reasonable accommodations to address the person’s religious belief or practice, unless, again, the request creates an undue hardship. The person requesting the accommodation is obligated to cooperate with the university’s attempts to accommodate the request. When more than one accommodation is possible, the university may select any of the accommodations, provided the accommodation will effectively eliminate the religious conflict.
Where to go for Help
If you believe you are experiencing religious discrimination or harassment, you are encouraged to contact the appropriate university official (dean, director, HR Representative, etc.) and/or the Office of Institutional Equity (see contact information in Section XIX). There are also many resources on campus that provide assistance, support and information to individuals experiencing discrimination or harassment on the basis of religion. A list of these offices and a brief description of their services appear in Section XIX. If you are unsure which office to contact, contact the office that seems most appropriate, and that office will either assist you or help you make contact with a university office that can.