You are here: American University Provost Communications August 18, 2021

American University Office of the Provost

MemorandumAugust 18, 2021

To:
AU Community
From:
Peter Starr, Acting Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Monica C. Jackson, Deputy Provost and Dean of Faculty
Beth Muha, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
Rev. Bryant M. Oskvig, Interim University Chaplain
Subject:
AY2021-2022 Major Religious Holy Days

Our community includes persons from many different religious and cultural backgrounds. We make American University a place of belonging for all, in part, by allowing for the observance of the holidays and significant days of the traditions represented here. For some, fasting and/or cessation of regular activities are components of these religious and cultural holidays, which impact a community member’s ability to attend class, participate in events, and complete assignments on certain dates. As you plan for Fall 2021, please take these observances into consideration. 

You can find a list of the religious and cultural holidays that AU community members are more likely to observe and for which they may require accommodation at: https://www.american.edu/ocl/kay/major-religious-holy-days.cfm

Please note that several of our religious and cultural communities observe holidays at the beginning of the academic year. Given the timing of these observances, students, faculty, and staff may have limited time to inform others of their need for an accommodation. In particular, two Jewish holidays that begin at sundown and require the complete cessation of work occur at the start of the Fall semester. These include Rosh Hashana (the evening of September 6–8) and Yom Kippur (the evening of September 15–16). 

More information about accommodations for religious and/or cultural holidays for students can be found at https://www.american.edu/ocl/kay/request-for-religious-accommodation.cfm. Procedures for religious accommodation for faculty and staff are outlined at https://www.american.edu/policies/au-community/upload/discrimination-and-non-title-ix-sexual-misconduct-policy-procedures-for-requesting-religious-accommodation-06102021.pdf.

Students who have questions about religious accommodations or observances may contact the Office of the University Chaplain at kslc@american.edu. Faculty and staff should be in touch with HR employee relations at employeerelations@american.edu.

As we begin to come back together as a community, our commitment to making American University a place of belonging for all persons is as important as ever. Thank you for your thoughtful care and attention to the religious and spiritual needs of our wider community. 

Fall 2021 Observances
 

Date* Holy Day Religion
August 18 Ashura Islam
September 7 & 8 Rosh Hashana Judaism
September 10 Ganesh Chaturthi Hinduism
September 16 Yom Kippur Judaism
September 21 & 22 First and Second Days of Sukkot Judaism
September 28 Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah Judaism
October 6 Navaratri Begins Hinduism
October 14 Vijaya Dashami Hinduism
November 4 Diwali Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism
November 6 Birth of Bab Baháʼí
November 7 Birth of Baha’u’llah Baháʼí
December 25 Christmas Christianity

*For Jewish and Islamic holidays, one should consider the observance beginning at sundown on the day before the holiday.  Jewish holy days end one hour after sunset of the concluding day. Islamic and Hindu holy days may also vary depending on the sighting of the moon.