POLICY ON RELIGION, BELIEF AND NON-BELIEF FOR STUDENTS
The University of York celebrates and values the diversity brought by its individual members and aims to create an environment where religious beliefs are welcomed and respected.
The Equality Act 2010 protects against discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief. This legislation also covers non-belief.
The University recognises the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The right to manifest beliefs is qualified by the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.
The University of York does not, as an institution, have any religious affiliation or endorse any particular denomination or faith.
The University recognises the commitment of individual students to pursue a spiritual or religious practice and actively supports their right to do so in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect.
The University further recognises that there is a variety of obligations placed upon those following particular faiths. Where practicable, the University will provide information and facilities and will seek to resolve clashes between compulsory academic activities and essential religious observances.
The University supports the free exploration, discussion and critique of knowledge and ideas as activities which underpin its core purposes of promoting teaching, learning and research. It expects staff and students to undertake such activities in ways which acknowledge and respect all forms of religion, belief or non-belief.
The University of York seeks to ensure that:
This Policy covers any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief but does not cover political belief (3) or cults. It also covers non-belief.
The University undertakes to ensure admissions procedures are carried out consistently and fairly. Specifically, those administering the process must be aware of their obligation not to discriminate against applicants in relation to the terms on which offers are made, and the grounds on which applications are rejected.
The University will, as far as is reasonably practicable, provide facilities and services (4) that accommodate the obligations of those following particular faiths. All relevant staff will receive appropriate training and guidance in relation to religion, belief and non belief to carry out their responsibilities under this Policy.
The University will seek to provide support that is appropriate to the needs of students of different religious beliefs through the Student Support Services(5), supervisory system and college welfare teams. It will ensure that supervisors, both academic and personal, are aware of this Policy and that they support students in their right to equality of opportunity in relation to religion and belief.
The University of York imposes no dress code on its students, and welcomes the variety of appearance brought by individual styles and choices of dress. The wearing of items in accordance with particular religious beliefs and associated cultural practices(6) is seen as part of this welcome diversity. Exceptions to the above are detailed at the end of this Policy.
a) The University will make reasonable efforts to provide suitable space for prayer, quiet contemplation and ablution where practical and will provide information about this provision.
b) The University will also provide information on places of worship, services and facilities, which are provided in the neighbourhood and region (7)
a)Harassment (8) or bullying on the grounds of religion or belief and non-belief will not be tolerated and will be dealt with under the University Code of Practice on Harassment.
b) All members of the University community have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. However, if beliefs are promoted in a way that impinges on the rights and freedoms of others, this may result in disciplinary action. (Also see Paragraph 3).
Students who wish to make a complaint under this Policy can seek help from the YUSU, the GSA, the ISA, their Academic Supervisor, Provost or College Tutor. See the University complaints procedure for students.
The University seeks to ensure that, as far as is reasonably practicable, members of the University are informed of this Policy and any associated procedures. All members of the University are responsible for familiarising themselves with this Policy and its implementation.
Exceptions to Section 10 – Dress Code
a) In order to comply with Health and Safety requirements specific items of clothing such as overalls, protective clothing etc. may need to be worn. If such clothing is in conflict with a student’s religious belief, the issue will be referred to the academic supervisor, with the aim of finding a satisfactory outcome.
b) Where examination candidates need to be identified in relation to University assessment procedures, the verification of candidates will be carried out sensitively and by appropriate, trained staff (9)
c) The wearing of slogans or symbols which cause distress may constitute harassment (10) may be dealt with accordingly under the Code of Practice on Harassment.
(1) The word ‘services’ throughout this document refers to ‘facilities and services’ as opposed to ‘religious services’.
(2) As referred to in the University’s Race Equality Policy Section 5
(3) Political beliefs are covered by the Equality and Diversity Policy for students
(4) Including catering, accommodation, careers, sports, retail, conference and social facilities, the Information Centre, Library, the University Nursery and IT Support etc.
(5) Student Support Services including Disability Services, college welfare, the welfare aspects of the supervisory system, YUSU (York University Students’ Union), the GSA (Graduate Students’ Association), the ISA (International Students’ Association)
(6) For example the wearing of hijab, kippah, mangal sutra, sari, headwear and crucifix, jewellery / adornments.
(7) Information currently supplied by the University Chaplains.
(8) Definition in the University Code of Practice on Harassment “behaviour which is unwanted by the recipient and unwarranted by the working or study/social relationship and also would be regarded by such as any such similarly-situated reasonable person”.
(9) For example in the case of individuals wearing veils.
(10) Definition in the University Code of Pratice on Harassment “behaviour which is unwanted by the recipient and unwarranted by the working or study/social relationship and also would be regarded by such as any such similarly-situated reasonable person”.
Equality and Diversity Office
SOURCES OF SUPPORT, ADVICE AND INFORMATION
University of York Equality and Diversity Office
Advice, support, guidance on equality and diversity issues for staff and students
Tel: (01904) 324680
Equality and Diversity Office website on Religion, belief and non-belief:
Contains information on/links to the following areas relating to religion, belief and non-belief including:
Student Policy on religion and belief and non-belief
There are five facilities for prayer and reflection available on campus at the University of York - see: https://www.york.ac.uk/students/support/faith/prayer/
Located in W/029 in Wentworth College, the prayer room is accessible 24 hours a day. It is designated as a multifaith facility.
To access the prayer room, take your student identification to Wentworth College reception where the porters will provide you with a key.
Located on the second floor, this facility can be accessed at any time the building is open. Staff at reception in the Ron Cooke Hub building can provide directions.
Between Derwent College and Heslington Hall, The Quiet Place is a resource for all members of the University community for silence, quiet reflection or prayer.
There is a bookable upper room for groups to use and an enclosed garden and ground floor room for individuals.
Located on the ground floor of the Seebohm Rowntree Building in Alcuin College. A number code is required to access the room and the nearby washroom facilities. The code can be obtained from the Islamic Society.
More House is the Catholic Chaplaincy for the University, located on Heslington Lane just to the South of the Heslington West campus. On the ground floor of More House, this simple prayerful chapel is open from morning to evening every weekday of the main undergraduate terms and is available to students and staff of all faiths and none as a place of reflection and prayer.
Worship in York
STUDENT FAITH SOCIETIES
USEFUL PUBLICATIONS/WEB SITES
ECU Research on Religion and Belief in Higher Education: the experiences of staff and students:
Employing People in Higher Education: Religion and Belief
Produced by: Equality Challenge Unit
Religion or belief in the workplace: a guide for employers and employees
Produced by ACAS
Promoting good campus relations – ECU guidance: http://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/promoting-good-campus-relations-update
Freedom of speech on campus - rights and responsibilities in UK Universities - Universities UK document
BBC Web pages on Religion
The Higher Education Academy – Faith Guides for HE
T he Subject Centre for Philosophy & Religious Studies at the Higher Education Academy has brought together a range of academics to author the Faith Guides listed below. The Higher Education Academy aims for the guides to provide some answers to some of the basic questions, through providing individuals, departments and institutions with resource information on issues relating to teaching people of faith in a higher education environment.
List of sources of support updated August 2012