Pierce College District Policy

Student Accommodation for Faith/Conscience

June 30, 2019

Per 2019 Senate Bill 5166, the law has changed and RCW 28B.10.039 will be updated to reflect the law. In line with the new law, Pierce College will grant reasonable accommodation so that grades are not impacted for students who are absent or endure significant hardship for reasons of faith or conscience, or for an organized activity conducted under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or religious organization. Such absences/hardships must be requested in writing within the first two weeks of the course and may not incur additional fees for students. Faculty must include the approved language that references this policy in their syllabi. This policy and the associated procedure will be posted on the institutional website. Students who have concerns about approval or a grade impact may utilize the student grievance procedure for concerns not directly related to grades, or to the grade appeal process in cases impacting a final grade.

Procedures

  • Students must submit a completed Request for Accommodation for Faith/Conscience form. Forms are also available in the Offices of the Vice President for Learning and Student Success at Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup, and of the Executive Director of Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). The form must be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Learning and Student Success, the Executive Director of Pierce College at JBLM, or via email to LSSoffice@pierce.ctc.edu within the first two weeks of the beginning of the course in which the absence/hardship will occur.
  • All requests under this policy must be approved in advance by either the Office of the Vice President for Learning and Student Success or the Executive Director of Pierce College at JBLM; consideration will be given for absence/hardships that occur within the first two weeks of the term. After the first two weeks of the beginning of the course, the college will not authorize an accommodation for an absence/hardship for a student without exceptional and compelling circumstances. 
  • Once approved, students should obtain a signature from each professor with whom they have class on the affected day(s). After notification of the absence/hardship, each professor will determine what adjustments, if any, will need to be made to the scheduled assignments/activities. These adjustments should be communicated from the professor to the student within four business days of receiving the notification. 
  • Students enrolled in Veterinary Technology, Nursing, Dental Hygiene, and other programs with an internship or clinical component should consult with their Program Director and consider Program Handbook policies and procedures early in this process to assure that a reasonable accommodation can be determined. 
  • Students whose courses include a performance or residency requirement that conflicts with an anticipated absence/hardship should speak with the professor to determine whether a reasonable accommodation can be made (e.g., a concert cannot be rescheduled, a host institution may not be able to adjust their calendar, etc.). 
  • If the student’s absence/hardship occurs on a day when a test/assessment is scheduled or an assignment is due, the professor may require that the student take the test or submit the assignment before or after the regularly assigned date. If a substantial group engagement activity/project is planned, students should work with their professor to determine whether a reasonable accommodation can be made to minimize impact on other students and assure a similar opportunity for learning can be implemented. 
  • If a student fails to complete the formal process, the professor is not obligated to make any accommodations for the student or treat an absence/hardship as authorized under this policy or the law.
  • If there is disagreement with regard to determining reasonable accommodation, either party may make their concerns known to the campus vice president/JBLM executive director. Students who have concerns about approval or a grade impact may utilize the student grievance procedure for concerns not directly related to grades, or to the grade appeal process in cases impacting a final grade.