Disregard of religious holiday inexcusable


I have been fairly impressed with this campus in regard to its cultural and religious diversity tolerance until now. At the beginning of the semester, I scanned each syllabus and copied down the dates of midterms and finals into an organizer, just as each responsible student does at the beginning of each semester. When I came across a conflict of interest with one of these exams I made a note to contact my teaching assistant immediately, who would then contact my professor eventually.

(This, I assure you, was not to move up a final to get in a few more days of winter break.)

I approached my teacher at the end of a discussion session and mentioned simply that the first midterm fell on Yom Kippur. I, being Jewish, would not be able to take the exam that day. I did notice that other sections were taking the exam the day before and asked to be allowed to take the exam then. The teacher responded that he would ask the professor and get back to me.

I was satisfied with this response and alerted my other Jewish friends in the class that we had nothing to worry about. I was sure that the professor had just overlooked the date and would gladly allow us to take the exam with the other sections.

The following week, in discussion, the teacher reported that the professor had told us of the makeup policy on the first day of class and that we could only make up the midterm in December.

We approached the professor who backed up his decision (apparently not seeing that it was unfair to make us remember the material until December). I am appalled to be a member of an academic community in the 1990s that has a blatant disregard for a person's religious beliefs and practices. This would compare to the university allowing finals on Christmas. That would never happen.

Well professor, just to inform you, Yom Kippur happens to be the holiest day of the year for Jews and not a very fun holiday. We sit in a synagogue all day long and repent for our sins, ask God for forgiveness and fast. We also remember our ancestors that were persecuted for having beliefs and practices such as this and were tortured because of ignorant people like yourself.

I would honestly expect more from a professor of history who has a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D.

Aimee Wharton

Political Science Sophomore

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