Final Exam Fuss
This seems to be a local story that is getting some attention:
Scores of state and city legislators are demanding that the City University of New York change its final exam schedule, which, for the first time in recent history, coincides with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.I agree that CUNY should have been more careful when they originally approved the calendar, and should certainly make every effort going forward to vet the calendar with proper attention to religious holidays. However, the push to have CUNY change the schedule at this date date seems excessive. I myself had a similar situation while in graduate school when midterms were scheduled over Pesach, and I took an uneventful make-up exam a few days later. Was it ideal? No. But the situation was what it was. As, in my opinion, is this one.
"CUNY continues to pride itself on cultural sensitivity," Assemblyman Dov Hikind wrote in a recent letter to CUNY's chancellor, Matthew Goldstein. "How is that possible when a holiday with the same religious status as Rosh Hashana is dismissed as insignificant, and thousands of students and faculty will be adversely affected?"
More than 50 state legislators and 14 members of the City Council signed the February 5 letter. Mr. Hikind, a Democrat of Brooklyn, told The New York Sun that he intends bring up the issue with Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Spitzer if the exam schedule is not changed.
In a letter to Mr. Hikind, the chancellor wrote that while he has no plans to alter the academic calendar, "the colleges have been reminded of the obligation to provide an accommodation to faculty and students who must be absent on days of religious observance." State law requires such accommodations.
Not every professor is equally sensitive to students' religious obligations, and students shouldn't be forced to rely on the goodwill of instructors, the assemblyman said.