Reminder: Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and Spring 2021 Final Exams

April 26, 2021

Dear Faculty and Students, 

This year Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, one of two religious festivals Muslims observe yearly, fall within our Spring 2021 final exam period (Monday, May 10 to Friday, May 14). Ramadan is the holy month observed by many Muslim communities around the world. During Ramadan, Muslims fast daily from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food and drink while practicing spiritual reflection, self-improvement, charitable giving, and heightened devotion and worship. Eid al-Fitr is a holiday that commemorates the end of the month of Ramadan, as Muslims pray together and celebrate the day with family and community.  

The University supports students who are navigating their academic requirements while participating in these religious activities. We would like to remind you of the campus policies that outline the rights and responsibilities of both students and faculty with respect to course conflicts and accommodations of all types. The relevant policies are linked below:   

These policies are also available via the Academic Accommodations Hub and are included at the end of this message for reference. 

The Academic Senate has created guidelines for faculty and students to follow in navigating course conflicts and reasonable accommodations (see Checklist for Scheduling Conflicts with Academic Requirements). Additional resources on final examinations, including COVID-19 information, are available on the Keep Teaching website and the Academic Senate website. We encourage faculty and students to work together constructively to find the best feasible solution in each instance.  

Faculty should 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 Section 015 of the Academic Personnel Manual, which details instructional responsibilities with respect to holding class when scheduling and arranging make-up sessions. 

During Ramadan, Cal Dining will provide adjusted meal options in the dining commons, including modified carry-out options that are specific to Ramadan. A meal plan is not required to purchase meals from the dining commons—any guest can pay for individual meals. Additionally, the Muslim Student Association, community members, and the university are offering complimentary hot meal boxes each night for Muslim-identifying students. While we will not have indoor spaces for groups at this time, we do have indoor rooms for individuals and outdoor contemplation and meditation spaces suitable for physically distant groups on campus which can be booked using the On Campus Activity Pre-Approval Request form. Additionally, the Berkeley Masjid will host physically distanced nightly prayers. Please contact the Muslim Student Association for additional information. 

Best regards,

A. Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Jennifer Johnson-Hanks
Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate

This message was sent to all UC Berkeley faculty and students.


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.

Religious Holidays Calendar

Religious Holidays Calendar has been compiled and is now posted on the Registrar'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. 


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.