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Ability to Opt Out of Coursework Angers Professors

Ability to Opt Out of Coursework Angers Professors

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Some professors at the University of Utah are upset about a proposed policy allowing students to opt out of coursework if it conflicts with their beliefs.

The policy came after a settlement the school made with a theater student who refused to swear in classroom performances. The former student sued the school, alleging that requiring her to swear conflicted with her religious beliefs.

If approved by the school's Academic Senate and Board of Trustees, the policy might be the first of its kind in the country.

However, the Senate tabled the issue yesterday after more than an hour of debate.

Faculty members say they're concerned about the policy taking away their academic freedom to decide coursework. They also had questions about just how it would work.

They wonder, for example, if a Christian student should be absolved from taking a test on Good Friday, or whether that same accommodation would be given to Muslims during the month-long Ramadan.

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

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