Under changes to ABA Accreditation Standard 304, adopted in August 2004, a law school shall require regular and punctual class attendance.
- At any time after the fifth week of a course (halfway through a summer session course), a student who has been determined by the instructor to have attended fewer than 80 percent of the class sessions in any course will be required to drop the course from his or her registration upon the instructor’s so indicating to the Academic Services Office.
- An instructor may also impose stricter attendance standards or other sanctions for nonattendance, including lowering of a grade, provided that students are informed at the start of the course of the instructor’s attendance rules and possible sanctions.
- The instructor referred to in paragraph 1 should take attendance with such regularity as is needed to insure reasonable accuracy in determining a student’s attendance record.
Source: 2-11-1988 Regular Faculty Meeting
Enrollment in Classes Meeting Simultaneously
No student shall be permitted to enroll in classes that meet simultaneously except that third year students in 1974-75, if cause is shown, may so enroll and the permission of the instructors and the Dean is obtained.
Source: 6-4-1977 Regular Faculty Meeting
A number of religious groups have holidays during orientation and the regular academic year. Examples include the following:
- Ramadan (Islamic): (during FLS)
- Yom Kippur (Jewish)
- Birth of the Báb (Bahá'í): (during autumn quarter)
- Christmas (Orthodox Christian): (1st week of winter quarter)
- Good Friday (Christian): (1st week of spring quarter)
A complete list of religious holidays can be found at: http://www.washington.edu/students/reg/religcal.html
Given the large number of religions and the large number of holidays practiced by each religion, the need to comply with ABA guidelines regarding minimum contact minutes, and the need to provide a reading period at the end of each quarter, we do not close the law school or alter the academic calendar for religious holidays. As a reminder, the law school always starts classes two days prior to the rest of the University in order to ensure that we satisfy ABA guidelines and provide a reading period at the end of each quarter.
Given that many religious holidays fall during the first week of Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, however, we do not permit students to be dropped from courses for failing to attend class as a result of a religious holiday.
Faculty members have the flexibility to cancel or re-schedule classes for various reasons, including to personally observe religious holidays. The only constraint is that they must make sure that they still hold the minimum number of class sessions necessary to comply with ABA standards (450 minutes for each credit hour). In some (but not all) cases, missing a class session or two will not put you below the ABA minimum.
Students are allowed to miss classes for various reasons so long as they comply with the overall law school attendance policy (80 percent of class sessions) and the instructor's specific attendance rules.
The official University of Washington policy allows individual faculty members to decide how to respond to religious holiday requests:
"Although many of these days are not University holidays, faculty are asked to use this information and their discretion when responding to student requests for time off for religious purposes."
The only constraint on a faculty member's discretion is that they not favor some religious groups over others; in other words, if they give students of one religion time off for religious purposes, they must do so for students of other religions as well.