The redesign of the academic calendar occurred for two primary reasons. First, the College is conscious of the many religious holidays and needs to treat all religious observations equitably. Second, many of the currently observed holidays do not fall on the same date every year, making it difficult to create a calendar that is consistent, efficient, and predictable, especially during the fall semester. For these reasons, discussion of a secular calendar began. The recommended changes allow for a calendar grounded in our mission as an academic institution by supporting equitable observation of all religious holidays, while also reducing conversion days, minimizing disruptions to class schedules, and facilitating the scheduling of all required class meetings.
The calendar committee consists of representatives from the Registrar’s Office, Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, the Faculty Association, and Faculty Governance, with representation from all three campuses. The committee reviewed peer institutions (local, statewide, private, and public) and considered county, state, and federal mandated holidays in the process. The committee then presented a recommendation to the President, Governance, the Board of Trustees, and the college community.
Nearly all SUNY Campuses (two-year and four-year) do not observe religious holidays with the cancellation of classes. These colleges and universities have policies that ensure anyone observing religious holidays can do so without penalty or consequence. Suffolk County Community College has elected to follow this model.
Suffolk County Community College is a public institution, part of the State University of New York, and as a State institution, ensures equal treatment of all religious observations that fall during an academic semester.
Neither the government of New York State, nor that of Suffolk County, closes on religious holidays other than Christmas. The State of New York and Suffolk County identify official holidays on their websites:
Legal Holidays for State Employees
Suffolk County Clerk Holiday Schedule
Any student or college employee (faculty, staff etc.) who wishes to observe a religious holiday should refer to the Suffolk County Community College policy that addresses the proper procedures to follow.
Student absences from class necessitated by religious observance will be deemed an excused absence, with no negative academic consequences. Observing students will be provided the opportunity to make up any missed assignments or exams within a reasonable amount of time of the religious observance. Absences due to religious observance will not count as a class absence or lateness.
Christmas and New Year’s Day fall between the fall and spring semesters, so naturally there are no classes held on either of those days. Furthermore, Christmas is a legal holiday observed by Suffolk County and the State of New York.
On average, there are more than five religious holidays each month. Some months have more than ten religious holidays. If we were to cancel classes for all of these religious holidays, it would be impossible to honor our academic mission and preserve academic integrity. Suffolk County Community College has always been respectful of all religions, and we embrace and celebrate our diversity. We also must meet state requirements and provide instruction in the most efficient, effective and beneficial manner for all of our students.