The need to be respectful of the multi-religious nature of the BISC community is recognised as fundamental to the continued harmony of the community and the well-being of our students. At the BISC we do what we can to link students with local religious and faith based organisations, services and places of worship as well as inviting local religious leaders to the Castle to meet with the students in both formal and informal settings.
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Exams and Observing Religious Holidays
The BISC has a duty to provide accommodation for students, staff and faculty where their religious observances create a conflict with their work/ study schedule. Also, the school calendar should not be seen to favor a particular religion.
Q: What constitutes a religious observance?
A: Whatever Holy Days are observed by a member of a particular faith eg: Weekly Sabbath, or festivals such as Easter, Ramadan, Passover, Divali, etc. If a member of a particular faith would be expected not to work on the date of a particular observance/Sabbath, and if the observance conflicts with a work or academic requirement, that person would be entitled to request religious accommodation.
Q: Will an exam be re-scheduled to a date of my choosing?
A: No. The exam will be re-scheduled at the earliest possible date, following the original scheduled exam, agreeable to the University exams office in consultation with Student Services. Rescheduled exams cannot be held earlier than the original schedule date unless the observance falls on the last day of exams. Exam rescheduling is not intended to create unnecessary hardship or inequality for students. However, given the complex arrangements involved in scheduling exams, students may find the re-schedule date less ideal than they may have hoped. The BISC's obligation is to provide an appropriate exam accommodation so as long as the offered date does not create an "official exam conflict" (that is three consecutive exams in 24 hours, containing one 9 am, one 2 pm and one 7 pm start time). The new date, while appropriate, may not be the student's preferred date.
Q: How is my membership in a religious community vetted?
A: To be frank, it is not. Under human rights legislation, a person need only demonstrate sincerity of belief in order to have their faith-based accommodation needs considered. Religious accommodations, then, are essentially granted on an honor system. We encourage students to ask only for accommodations that are legitimate based on their current commitment to practicing their religion. For example: if you have an exam scheduled for Saturday or Sunday, we expect that you will only request the accommodation if you are, in fact, a regular Sabbath Keeper. If you would normally study or do other work on the given day, there should be no barrier to you writing a scheduled exam on that day as well. Remember that the re-scheduling of exams, like other forms of accommodation, is intended to eliminate barriers, not to give students an advantage. Exams will not necessarily be rescheduled to a date/time that the student prefers. The BISC expects students to make requests for religious accommodation in good faith.