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UW announces changes to start-of-year plans out of respect for Rosh Hashanah

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Rebecca Blank

MADISON (WKOW) — UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced several policy changes for the start of the 2021-22 academic year after conflicts with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah prompted backlash across the UW system.

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According to a statement from Blank, any students who miss class September 8 for Rosh Hashanah, known as the Jewish New Year, should not be penalized by instructors for absences. Any instructors who observe the holiday also have permission to hold asynchronous classes.

"This is a moment when it’s critical to show, through our words and actions, that we are committed to the safety and well-being of Jewish members of our community," Blank said in the statement.

Blank also said the university will reschedule all departmental welcome events and first-year student convocation to September 3.

"We are taking steps to prevent scheduling major campus events that conflict with significant religious observances of all faiths from happening in the future. A working group is reviewing the academic calendar in future years to identify potential conflicts well in advance so that we can plan accordingly," Blank said.

Peter Culver

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