Undergraduate Student Government passes a resolution to reform the university’s policy on absences during exams due to religious holidays. Credit: Owen Conn | Lantern Reporter

A new Undergraduate Student Government resolution looks to reform university absence policy during exam weeks.

Wednesday night, USG’s General Assembly passed a resolution in support of Ohio State’s students of faith. Resolution 52-R-17, which passed with unanimous consent, will recommend that the university allow students of all religions to be excused from exams during periods of religious observance. 

With the resolution’s passing, USG hopes Ohio State will consider a university-wide absence policy regarding religious holidays during exam periods. 

Currently, according to faculty rule 3335-9-21, “Each department or school may make its own rules relative to occasional absences by students from scheduled activities.” 

Caleb Hineman, GA parliamentarian and primary sponsor of the resolution, said he hopes to raise students’ awareness of their rights. 

“When it comes to religious accommodations, they are legally required to accommodate,” Hineman said. 

Ohio State’s spring 2020 final exam period during April 22-28 will fall during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when practicers of Islam will fast from sun up to sun down. 

Durya Nadeem, GA secretary, said the lack of both food and water for an entire day can affect one’s school work. 

“I am Muslim. I do fast during Ramadan,” Nadeem said. “That does have an impact on how you perform throughout the day, whether it’s academics or just your regular day.”

The resolution also cited a study from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam — Free University Amsterdam — which stated that fasting during Ramadan can have a negative impact on students academically. The study found that final grades are lowered by nearly 10 percent of a standard deviation for Muslim students oberving during this time period.

Hineman said USG is working alongside the University Registrar’s office to open alternative testing centers and dates to accommodate students during spring’s exam week.