State of Washington
66th Legislature
2019 Regular Session
BySenators Hasegawa, Carlyle, Frockt, Palumbo, and Nguyen
Read first time 01/15/19.Referred to Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development.
AN ACT Relating to providing religious accommodations for students at postsecondary educational institutions during exams or other requirements to successfully complete a program; amending RCW 28B.10.039; adding a new chapter to Title 28B RCW; and recodifying RCW 28B.10.039.
Sec. 1. RCW 28B.10.039 and 2014 c 168 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:
((Institutions of higher education))(1) Postsecondary educational institutions must develop policies to accommodate student absences for up to two days per academic year, to allow students to take holidays for reasons of faith or conscience or for organized activities conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization, so that students' grades are not adversely impacted by the absences.
(2) Students' sincerely held religious beliefs and practices must be reasonably accommodated with respect to all examinations and other requirements to successfully complete a program. Instructors may schedule alternative times without prejudicial effect before or after the regularly scheduled examination or other requirement to successfully complete a program. Instructors must accept at face value the sincerity of the students' religious beliefs and both instructors and students must keep requests for accommodation confidential. The postsecondary educational institution must make alternative accommodations for examinations and other requirements to successfully complete a program when:
(a) A student's sincerely held religious belief or practice severely affects the student's ability to perform on an examination or meet a requirement to successfully complete a program; and
(b) The student has provided written notice within the first two weeks of the beginning of the class of the specific dates the student requests alternative accommodations from the examination or requirement.
(3) Postsecondary educational institutions must conspicuously post to their web site:
(a) A copy of the postsecondary educational institution's religious accommodations policy, identifying the postsecondary educational institution's point of contact for further information; and
(b) A nonexhaustive list of major religious holy days or festivals for the following two academic years.
(4) Instructors at each postsecondary educational institution must include in each course syllabus a statement regarding the postsecondary educational institution's religious accommodation policy, including a description of the general procedure to request accommodations and informing students of the point of contact by which they may seek further information about the policy.
(5) Postsecondary educational institutions must provide a process for students to notify the Title IX coordinator, or the coordinator's designee, of any grievances with regard to implementation of this section.
(6) For the purposes of this section, "postsecondary educational institution" means an institution of higher education as defined in RCW 28B.10.016, a degree-granting institution as defined in RCW 28B.85.010, a private vocational school as defined in RCW 28C.10.020, school as defined in RCW 18.16.020, and any entity offering academic credit for an apprenticeship program under RCW 49.04.150.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. RCW 28B.10.039 is recodified as a section in a new chapter in Title 28B RCW.
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