University interactions & policies

complaint reporting

Penn MSA and the University of Pennsylvania take incidents of religious insensitivity, as well as Islamophobia and hate speech, seriously. Please report any such incidents here and we will follow up with administration. Penn MSA is a safe space and thus you may also submit any other incidents. 

Additionally, there are a number of resources available for help:

religious holiday absences

Frequently, conflicts arise between academic work and religious holidays. We hope this information can help answer any questions you might have. Most importantly, we want you to know that Penn MSA and the Chaplain’s Office are here to support you and make sure Penn is a place where you feel at home.

Click here to view a copy of Penn’s Policy on Secular and Religious Holidays, and here to see a list of religious holidays this year. While the policy is in place to help students, you need to be your own number–one advocate. That means speaking up as soon as you know there’s a conflict. Almost every professor hands out a syllabus on the first day of class, and it is your responsibility on the first day of class to review the syllabus against your calendar and determine if any exams, assignments, or graded homework will be a potential conflict for you.

Our recommendation is to speak to your professor in person during the first two weeks of classes. Go up to your professor at the end of the first class and start a conversation about your conflicts. This way, you are giving the professor the best possible opportunity to find a solution that works for everyone. Understand that your professor may not know much about Islam or Islamic holidays, so be open to explaining your observance if there are any questions. 

An in–person conversation isn’t always possible, especially right away. It’s most important that you bring this to your professor’s attention as soon as possible, so you can email him/her instead. The policy states that you should inform your professor of your observance within the first two weeks of classes. Click here to see a template email for you to use if you have trouble writing your own.

If you are going to be missing class for a religious observance, you can submit a course absence report (CAR) on PennInTouch. When you login, look at the left menu bar, and click the option for CAR and “create new report.” The CAR helps to officially inform professors of an absence so they can keep track of it, especially if there are a lot of students in the class.

If a problem does arise please inform both Penn MSA and the Chaplain’s Office. For Penn MSA, contact the MSA President at, and for the Chaplain’s Office, contact Associate Chaplain Steve Kocher at