Report: Accommodations for Religious Students at U.S. Colleges Are 'Lacking'

Amanda Casanova | Contributor | Published: Jul 21, 2023
Report: Accommodations for Religious Students at U.S. Colleges Are 'Lacking'

Report: Accommodations for Religious Students at U.S. Colleges Are 'Lacking'

A new report says that accommodations for religious students at colleges in the U.S. are "lacking."

In many cases, people from certain faith backgrounds may have specific dietary needs, require prayer spaces or need time off for religious holidays, but in many colleges, non-Christian students do not have proper accommodations for them, The Christian Post reports.

A report from a North Carolina State University student found that of 122 campuses surveyed, only 55 had visible religious accommodations.

About 81 percent of public institutions had policies to support religious accommodations, while just 58 percent of private, nonsectarian universities said the same.

Among Protestant colleges, 24.1 percent had religious accommodation policies compared to 21.4 percent of Catholic colleges and 6.6 percent of Evangelical institutions.

"The key takeaways from these findings include a pressing need to renovate existing religious accommodation policies at universities and for more colleges to develop religious accommodation policies, as many currently lack them," the report reads.

According to Inside Higher Ed, Maples conducted the study after he observed an incident while he worked at Vanderbilt University's Office of Religious Life.

While there in 2018, the campus newspaper published an op-ed by a Jewish woman about her struggle to convince professors to recognize people of her faith that need time off for the High Holidays. The High Holidays in Judaism are known as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

"We want students to be their whole selves when they're at our institutions," Maples said. "We don't want to have them compromise a part of themselves and have to make the choice between observing an important religious holiday or following their dietary needs according to their religion and being able to participate in their classes or having to sacrifice their grades potentially."

Maples also included in his report a 2007 speech by Hadia Mubarak, the first female president of the National Muslim Students Association, where she talked about the importance of prayer spaces for Muslim college students.

Photo courtesy: Dom Fou/Unsplash

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

Report: Accommodations for Religious Students at U.S. Colleges Are 'Lacking'