Long Island News
Stony Brook Univ. to hold class on religious holidays
STONY BROOK, N.Y. (WABC) -- There's outrage at Stony Brook University after officials announced they are changing the school calendar and will begin holding classes on religious holidays.
You'll probably never hear a Stony Brook University student complain about having a Jewish or Catholic holiday off.
But, when you ask some of them what they really think about it there are mixed opinions.
"Either have them all or don't have them all," a student said.
"This is an international campus. You have people here from all over the world you have to respect everyone's views," said Katherine Cano, a student.
That was the thinking exactly of administrators at the university when they decided that next year classes will be held on all religious holidays including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Good Friday.
"We are in line with every major university in the country in terms of putting together a secular academic calendar," said Charles Robbins, Vice-provost.
The move is upsetting some students who will have to make a choice between going to class or spending time with their families on the holidays.
"What we're doing is enhancing and observing the universities respect for al religions and by making sure no faculty or student is penalized for practicing their faith," Robbins said.
The trade off is professors will not be allowed to schedule exams on religious holidays; students can't have assignments due and can't be marked absent if they're not in class.
"I think they're going to be lined up at the door in terms of the number of absences that are going to be asked for," said Rabbi Joseph Topek, the head of the campus interfaith center.
Rabbi Topek says some students already have a difficult time getting excused absences for less well known religious observances.
He says it could also put faculty members, particularly those of the Jewish faith, in a difficult situation.
"I think they're concerned about how to fit the same amount of material into three fewer class sessions a semester," Rabbi Topek said.
The university's student government though overwhelmingly approved the new calendar.
Get Eyewitness News Delivered
long island, religion, stony brook university, long island news
- School bus collides with taxi in Brooklyn 46 min ago
- AccuWeather: March Roller Coaster 26 min ago
- Live: Eyewitness News on 7online streamed live!
- Get WATCH ABC for your mobile device
- Fed investigators probe Port Authority chairman
- Missing Brooklyn boy found safe on subway
- Metro-North worker fatally struck by train in NYC 17 min ago
- Newtown shooter's father speaks out for 1st time 44 min ago
- Malaysian plane mystery continues 43 min ago
- Photos: Malaysia Airlines missing plane
- Oheka Castle owner speaks out in video 41 min ago
- Tarrytown Tappan Zee ramp closure begins
- Phil Jackson likely taking Knicks job, ESPN reports
- Photos: Brooklyn school bus accident
- School bus collides with taxi in Brooklyn
46 min ago
- AccuWeather: March Roller Coaster
26 min ago
- Oheka Castle owner speaks out in video
41 min ago