Washington State Law Will Force Colleges to Reschedule Exams for Fasting Muslims

Muslims praying in Brooklyn
Stephanie Keith/Getty

A recently passed Washington law will force colleges to reschedule exams for Muslim students who are celebrating religious holidays, such as fasting during Ramadan.

The law, which was developed in part by University of Washington lecturer Bryan White, was designed to help Muslim students navigate the conflict between the religious observance of Ramadan and spring exams.

The law itself requires that universities reschedule exams for students with religious conflicts.

The institution’s policy must require faculty to reasonably accommodate students who, due to the observance of religious holidays, expect to be absent or endure a significant hardship during certain days of the course or program. “Reasonably accommodate” mean coordinating with the student on scheduling examinations or other activities necessary for the completion of the program and includes rescheduling examinations or activities or offering different times for examinations or activities.

The recently passed law, which was highlighted in a report by The College Fix this week, will apply to students of all religious backgrounds. Despite this, it was specifically written to address the needs of Muslim students.

“Here in the Pacific Northwest … we can have 4 a.m. sunrises and 10:30 p.m. sunsets,” one student at a Washington college said in a comment. “If Ramadan is during that, a person cannot eat or drink between those hours, making life suck [for them].”

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