U of U Academic Senate Approves Accommodations Policy

U of U Academic Senate Approves Accommodations Policy

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The University of Utah Academic Senate has approved an accommodations policy for students whose sincerely held beliefs conflict with course contents.

"It's been about three months coming," said Fred Esplin, vice president for student affairs. "The policy will be in effect probably by the end of this month."

The new policy will go to university President Michael Young for administrative approval and then to the school's board of trustees later this month.

The policy was created as the result of a settlement after former student Christina Axson-Flynn said her religious beliefs were offended by a requirement to use profane language during a theater class.

Under the new policy, a student's request to opt out of having to read or recite certain materials must be considered by the professor, who can then decide whether to accommodate the student's request.

If the student's request is denied, the professor's dean has the right to overturn the decision.

If the professor or instructor disagrees with the dean's decision, it is the dean's responsibility to administer an alternative academic requirement for the student to satisfy the objective of the assignment or material.

The Accommodations Policy Committee, chaired by Kate Coles, professor of English, developed the policy after more than 20 meetings with students, faculty and community members.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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