Tests on religious holidays student obligation


As a nation, we take our tolerance very seriously, and rightly so. We strive to teach our children to accept everyone’s own personal way of thinking, even if we don’t agree with it. Sure, we still hold onto our winter break, formerly Christmas break, and spring break, formerly Easter break, but there’s always room for more holidays in the American year.

CSUN’s policy of allowing students to reschedule a test is an excellent example of this type of progressive thinking. I seriously doubt that 50 years ago students were allowed to take a test later because it fell on a holiday of a non-Christian religion. A serious question we need to ask ourselves, though, is where do we draw the line and say, “No, you need to be here.”

The administration asked itself this minefield of a question and decided on the only conclusion our politically correct mindset can come up with: Since there’s no way to decide what is or is not a major religion, not to mention what constitutes a holiday important enough in that religion to warrant skipping an exam, it has to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

What other conclusion could they really come to? It really isn’t their decision to make whether or not something like Scientology is a religion or not. What constitutes a religion is such a subjective subject that no two people will agree in every case, if only because the line between a religion and a cult can be paper-thin.

Someone still has to make that decision, though, and it seems like that responsibility is placed squarely on the shoulders of the faculty. Luckily, students using religion as an excuse to get a little more study time for a test has been relatively rare so far. But perhaps now that the droves of students reading the Sundial know about this possible loophole, more students will claim to have a previously unknown holiday.

There are some religions that could prove especially troublesome. Because of the rigorous individualism and emphasis on self-determination of some religions, each member of some of these religion could be put in charge of their own holidays. Who is to say that a religion that has these sorts of tenets but has only been around for 50 years is any less valid than one that has been around for 6,000 years?

Simply put, that’s too much responsibility for faculty to bear, even for the religious studies professors. Of course, some sort of master list still isn’t an option, but who, then, should the responsibility fall on? The individual student seems a natural choice.

These sorts of determinations definitely have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, but it is unrealistic and unfair to expect every professor to know all the important holidays of all the religions represented by clubs on campus alone. Instead, each individual student must take on the responsibility of knowing their chosen religion well enough to tell teachers early enough that they’re going to need to reschedule. It’s the only way to at once be equitable to every student while keeping people from taking advantage of the system.