Ramadan and Spring 2020 Final Exams

January 27, 2020

Dear Faculty and Students: 

Similar to last year, the spring 2020 final exam period (Monday, May 11 to Friday, May 15) falls during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. We would like to remind you of the campus policies that outline the rights and responsibilities of both faculty and students with respect to course conflicts and accommodations of all types. The relevant policies are linked below:   

These policies are also readily available via the new Academic Accommodations Hub, and are transcribed at the end of this message. 

The Academic Senate has created helpful guidelines for faculty and students to follow in navigating course conflicts and reasonable accommodations: see the Checklist for Scheduling Conflicts with Academic Requirements. We encourage faculty and students to work together constructively to find the best feasible solution in each instance.  

Students should note that it is their responsibility to inform faculty of their need for accommodation. Because this reminder is coming in the second week of classes, we ask that students request accommodations no later than Friday, February 14, 2020. 

Faculty, please note that accommodations in final exam scheduling for religious reasons do not (unlike other changes to final exam scheduling) require approval of a Petition for Final Exam Group Change by the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI). Information about Final Exam Guide and Schedules is available on the Office of the Registrar website. When considering requests for accommodations, instructors should also be mindful of APM Policy 015 which details instructional responsibilities with respect to holding class when scheduled and arranging make-up sessions. 

During Ramadan, Cal Dining will provide adjusted meal options in the dining commons, including extended hours, carry-out containers/meals, and other services. A meal plan is not required to eat in the dining commons–any guest can pay for individual meals. There are two contemplation and meditation spaces on campus available year round and Student Affairs is working on providing additional spaces during Ramadan. Parking & Transportation will operate a nightly door-to-door shuttle until 6:00 a.m. Details, to be finalized with the Muslim student representatives, will be shared with that community later this semester.

Best regards,

Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Oliver O’Reilly
Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate


The following policies are accessible via the Academic Accommodations Hub:


In compliance with Education code, Section 92640(a), it is the official policy of the University of California at Berkeley to permit any student to undergo a test or examination, without penalty, at a time when that activity would not violate the student's religious creed, unless administering the examination at an alternate time would impose an undue hardship which could not reasonably have been avoided. Requests to accommodate a student's religious creed by scheduling tests or examinations at alternative times should be submitted directly to the faculty member responsible for administering the examination.

Reasonable common sense, judgment and the pursuit of mutual goodwill should result in the positive resolution of scheduling conflicts. The regular campus appeals process applies if a mutually satisfactory arrangement cannot be achieved.

The link to this policy is available in the Religious Creed section of the Academic Calendar webpage.

2019-20 Religious Holidays Calendar has been compiled and is now posted on the Center for Teaching and Learning’s website. This calendar will be updated on an annual basis to assist faculty and staff in course and activity planning and to reference in the accommodation process. To facilitate communication between students, instructors and staff, the following form may be useful: Student Request Form for Religious Accommodation


The Academic Senate has established Guidelines Concerning Scheduling Conflicts with Academic Requirements to address the issue of conflicts that arise between extracurricular activities and academic requirements. These policies specifically concern the schedules of student athletes, student musicians, those with out-of-town interviews, and other students with activities (e.g., classes missed as the result of religious holy days) that compete with academic obligations.

These policies were updated in Spring 2014 to include the following statement:

The pedagogical needs of the class are the key criteria when deciding whether a proposed accommodation is appropriate. Faculty must clearly articulate the specific pedagogical reasons that prevent accepting a proposed accommodation. Absent such a reason, the presumption should be that accommodations are to be made.

The guidelines assign responsibilities as follows:

  • It is the instructor’s responsibility to give students a schedule, available on the syllabus in the first week of instruction, of all class sessions, exams, tests, project deadlines, field trips, and any other required class activities.

  • It is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor(s) in writing by the second week of the semester of any potential conflict(s) and to recommend a solution, with the understanding that an earlier deadline or date of examination may be the most practicable solution.

  • It is the student’s responsibility to inform him/herself about material missed because of an absence, whether or not he/she has been formally excused.

The complete guidelines are available on the Academic Senate website. Additionally, a checklist to help instructors and students comply with the guidelines is available on the Center for Teaching and Learning website.

**Please note: Simultaneous proctored administration of a remote exam is an appropriate solution to exam security concerns. Berkeley faculty, faculty at the destination institution and the normal proctoring services here and remotely are presumed to be suitable sources of independent proctoring. Care should be taken that conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest be avoided in undertaking proxy proctorships. It is not a significant increase in faculty workload to have a suitable proctor pick up exam copy(s) several days in advance, followed by returning the completed exams with several days after administration.