New Religious Holiday Policy At SUNY Stony Brook Causes Controversy

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A new policy regarding religious holidays is causing a controversy at SUNY Stony Brook. The school will no longer give students off for religious holidays.

SUNY Stony Brook students will be off for Holy Week and Passover in April, but the University has changed its calendar after that.

The students and faculty have raised concerns over the new policy.

“It stinks,” Dr Norman Goodman told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.

Those who oppose the policy say that it is disrespectful of students and faculty who observe religious holidays. But the administration says that they acted in the interest of academics.

In 2011, students were given time off to observe religious holidays that fell right before final exams.

Stony Brook Vice Provost  Charles Robbins says that the move is not unprecedented.

“Within SUNY only eight [schools] cancel classes for religious holidays, so we are in good company,” he said.

But some students see the new policy as disrespectful towards all Stony Brook students.

“You really have to choose between my faith and my school work and I don’t want to be put in that position,” said Aaron Gershoff.

Critics have urged the administration to reconsider the policy which will be in effect for the next four years.

University officials told CBS 2 that no exams will given and that papers will not be due on religious holidays to avoid penalizing students for following their faith.

Should classes be cancelled on religious holidays? Let us know in our comments section below…

  • Hera

    Fine take away the religious holidays, since its equal for all religions. However, that just means that we now have more classes during the fall semester, and they won’t end the semester earlier to give us a longer break. And last years spring break was 4 weeks away from finals!! I dont understand this school at all.

  • John H

    You are just another of the many anti-christian christifobs in this country that have been trying to silence everything and anything that has to do with REAL CHRISTIANITY! We will be praying that your college will have to close its doors. Better your doors than any churches doors.

  • kevin

    The administration says that they acted in the interest of academics. But, University officials told CBS 2 that no exams will given and that papers will not be due on religious holidays to avoid penalizing students for following their faith. What a bunch of liars, they’re just anti religion liberals. Or at the very least anti-Christian and anti-Jewish.

  • BW

    I’m a Stony Brook grad and I have made monetary contributions to the University every year since 1980. No more. Change the policy and I’ll reconsider.

    And change the name of the athletic teams back to the Patriots!

    • dakotahgeo

      Really, BW, I think they may not give a tinker’s toot about your piddly donation. And just what does the name change have to do with this_ Keep your $5/month!

    • breetai3

      Well, I’m a Stony Brook grad (Electrical Engineering ’97) and I’ll be making a donation to cancel each other out. Sincerely, an engineer who works on religious holidays like the rest of private industry in this country.

      • Jeremy

        Whether you and others in your industry choose to work on religious holidays is your choice, why should that matter to someone choosing to celebrate per their first amendment right to do so? Get the anti-religious chip off your shoulder. Hell nobody is forcing you to celebrate. As a christian I wouldn’t mind you being of the same faith as me and celebrating our holidays, but frankly if you want to spend your day working or taking the day off to do something secular makes no difference to me, but don’t try and restrict those of us that are religious. And I doubt nobody in your industry takes off for religious holidays, so quit acting like observing religion is an abberation within the work place.

        • breetai3

          I’m saying that just about no business in the U.S. gives you an entire week holiday for religious purposes. You are always free to take vacation during that time, but I don’t understand why people are so up in arms about this, when the vast majority of workers DO NOT have that week off either.

  • Apostle

    Stand tall Americans of faith. The American Dark Ages are coming. The radical and tyrannical secular and atheistic left are declaring war on us. They will belittle us, demonize us and strive to kill us. History has always shown when secularism takes hold of a government, mass killings of believers will begin. Many of us will die in this war. But be strong. It’s coming. Our Creator always wins in the end.

    • Peoplebecrazy

      funny, the last time we had a “Dark Age” was when the church controlled Europe.

      calm down, your superstitions are not under attack.

  • holder

    Hit SUNY where it hurts. Don’t apply there and if you’re alumni don’t donate.

  • Tricia

    Yes Christians it is time to choose. The Obamanation in the White House has just begun to deny Christians and Jews the freedoms they were granted by our Christian Founding Fathers. First Christian Colleges MUST OBEY and now secular colleges will set policies to prove they are in solidarity with their Messiah. By Their Fruits you Shall Know Them!
    It seems the humanist have begun a CRUSADE against BELIEVERS of the BOOK!

  • mm

    State schools are funded by private sector taxpayers. They make the whole thing work. Let it go to a vote in the next election and let the results stand. If the taxpayers say don’t do it, then don’t do it. You cannot force taxpayers who fund the entire school to have no say.

    • mike d

      You need to wake up…your vote doesn’t matter in a communist country.

      Maybe I’m a little early with this comment, but maybe not.

  • mike d

    So Christmas stays on because the Unions have that holiday contracted in to the agreement, but all other holidays that we don’t like, goes away.

    We just want to make sure we are inclusive, while excluding one group particularly. I’m sure those “excluded” groups were saying…”why can’t we go to school today” “I sure wish we had class today”.

  • stace

    its funny that they are making this change but cant change the Christmas holiday because of goonions…sigh, a “social justice” major running this school, code word, namby pamby girlie man liberal.

  • JeffT

    Surprised this hasn’t happened sooner. It’s their football, they can do as they like. Prospective students should act accordingly when considering their beliefs vs; lack thereof of colleges and universities.

  • lybasha

    It’s a thinly veiled attack on religion by the elitist left.

    • dakotahgeo

      LOLOL… so say allll the lonely right wing American christian Taliban!!! Non-newsworthy!

      • summerday


  • Derek

    State schools shouldn’t observe religious holidays. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go to school there.

    • dakotahgeo

      Thank you!!! However, I think this is going to start a trend nationwide, as well it should!

    • FUpaladin

      The school isn’t observing the holiday. It’s taking notice of the private beliefs of the MAJORITY or it’s students and creating a schedule that allows them to not be forced to choose between religious observation and school obligations. If the majority of students were Muslim, then different days would be taken off. Just like a business should take stock of what days the majority of its employees and customers observe.

      I suppose you also opposed the foot-washing stations that were installed at a football stadium for the handful of Muslims there.

  • tom

    Putting religion aside..let’s see where this may bring us…professors will have to work more days unless the days are taken off the end. If not, more money will be demanded I’m sure, and even though they are salaried, most teachers base their salary on the amount of days they work.. so an increase in days worked= more money. Where does that come from??..Incease in tuition??..increase in taxes??..just what everyone wants to hear…just saying…

    • Native NYer

      Nope…Public universities are not run the same way public schools are run. Contractual issues are completely different.

  • dakotahgeo

    As a Christian minister, this may be the best policy move, taking into consideration that if we observe every religious celebration/holiday of every religion, nothing educational will ever get done. This is the right move!!!

  • cruz

    This is the right way to go. It’s about time! BTW, I do believe in God.

  • p curley

    It is OK as long as it is for all religious hiolidays, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic. There seems to be a proliferation of religious holidays all over

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