Chief Sponsor: Michael S. Kennedy

House Sponsor: Val L. Peterson


8     General Description:
9          This bill requires institutions of higher education to reasonably accommodate student
10     absences from scheduled examinations or academic requirements due to a student's
11     sincerely held religious beliefs.
12     Highlighted Provisions:
13          This bill:
14          ▸     requires institutions of higher education to:
15               •     reasonably accommodate student absences from scheduled examinations or
16     academic requirements if they create an undue hardship due to the student's
17     sincerely held religious beliefs; and
18               •     annually publish information about the general procedure to request an
19     accommodation; and
20          ▸     directs the Board of Higher Education to make policies related to the religious
21     accommodation.
22     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
23          None
24     Other Special Clauses:
25          None
26     Utah Code Sections Affected:
27     ENACTS:
28          53B-27-401, Utah Code Annotated 1953

30     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
31          Section 1. Section 53B-27-401 is enacted to read:
32          53B-27-401. Student religious accommodations.
33          (1) An institution shall:
34          (a) reasonably accommodate a student's absence from an examination or other
35     academic requirement under the circumstances described in Subsection (2) for reasons of:
36          (i) the student's faith or conscience; or
37          (ii) the student's participation in an organized activity conducted under the auspices of
38     the student's religious tradition or religious organization; and
39          (b) ensure that an accommodation described in Subsection (1)(a) does not adversely
40     impact the student's academic opportunities.
41          (2) An institution shall make an accommodation described in Subsection (1) if:
42          (a) the time at which an examination or academic requirement is scheduled to occur
43     creates an undue hardship for a student due to the student's sincerely held religious belief; and
44          (b) the student provides a written notice to the instructor of the course for which the
45     student seeks the accommodation regarding the date of the examination or academic
46     requirement for which the student seeks the accommodation.
47          (3) The board shall establish policies related to the accommodation described in
48     Subsection (1) that:
49          (a) require an institution to provide the accommodation with respect to when the
50     student participates in examinations and other academic requirements;
51          (b) allow an instructor who receives a notice described in Subsection (2)(b) to:
52          (i) schedule an alternative examination time before or after the regularly scheduled
53     examination; or
54          (ii) make accommodations for other academic requirements related to the
55     accommodation; and
56          (c) require an instructor who receives a notice described in Subsection (2)(b) to keep
57     confidential a student's request for the accommodation.

58          (4) (a) The board shall annually:
59          (i) create a list of the dates of religious holidays for the following two years; and
60          (ii) distribute the list described in Subsection (4)(a) to an institution.
61          (b) The creation and distribution of the list described in Subsection (4)(a) does not
62     prohibit a student from seeking, or an institution from granting, an accommodation for a date
63     of a religious holiday that is not included on that list.
64          (5) An institution shall:
65          (a) designate a point of contact for information about an accommodation described in
66     Subsection (1);
67          (b) establish a process by which a student may submit a grievance with regards to
68     implementation of this section; and
69          (c) publish the following information on the institution's website and update the
70     information annually:
71          (i) the board's religious accommodation policies described in Subsection (3);
72          (ii) the point of contact described in Subsection (5)(a);
73          (iii) the list described in Subsection (4);
74          (iv) a description of the general procedure to request an accommodation described in
75     Subsection (1); and
76          (v) the grievance process described in Subsection (5)(b).