Employee Forum Resolution 21-05, Regarding Acknowledgment and Coding of Inclusive Religious and Reflective Holidays
A JOINT RESOLUTION OF THE EMPLOYEE FORUM
THE UNC DIVERSITY, EQUITY, and INCLUSION COUNCIL
THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
October 6, 2021
WHEREAS it is the stated mission of the Employee Forum to seek out and address constructively issues affecting Staff, Faculty, and Students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and,
WHEREAS religious holidays at UNC-Chapel Hill are based on a Gregorian calendar and are not inclusive of all other religious practices; and,
WHEREAS employees who observe those other religious practices are required to obtain unreasonable permissions and administrative coding; and,
WHEREAS North Carolina state law, administrative code, and policies explicitly list the Christian religious and other paid holidays that are recognized by the State; and,
WHEREAS The State of North Carolina has authorized State employees to observe paid religious holidays, specifically, four (4) Christian religious holidays (Spring Holiday (i.e., Good Friday) and Winter Holiday (i.e., Christmas); and,
WHEREAS secular employees are required to observe these holidays rather than choosing reflective days of their own; and,
WHEREAS the State of North Carolina allows universities flexibility in determining their holiday schedules; and,
WHEREAS the State of North Carolina allows exceptions to the list of paid religious holidays for other “religious observances” with supervisor approval rather than notification; and,
WHEREAS it is in the University’s interest to maintain a highly motivated, talented, and diverse workforce; and,
WHEREAS in the University’s Strategic Initiative 1 – “Build Our Community Together,” Objective 1.1 calls on the University to “invest in policies, systems, and infrastructure that promote belonging, community, and transparency throughout the University community;” and,
WHEREAS in the University’s Strategic Initiative 1 – “Build Our Community Together,” Objective 1.3 calls on the University to “prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in teaching, research, and service and in hiring, evaluation, retention, and promotion of under-represented faculty and staff;” and,
WHEREAS these impositions create an undue burden on non-Christian faculty and staff; now, therefore, be it…
RESOLVED that the Employee Forum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill calls upon University leadership to use all authority and flexibility the University has under North Carolina law, administrative code, and policy to allow all University employees to observe the religious holidays that are meaningful to them. This must include atheist and agnostic employees who may prefer to have days of reflection rather than celebrate explicitly religious holidays.
RESOLVED that the four (4) allotted “religious holidays” should be determined by the employee and administration should advocate for these to be floating holidays to be used for either reflective days or to celebrate holidays of their choosing during the calendar year.
RESOLVED that specific, recommended steps to furtherance of this update include, but are not limited to: updating all relevant University policies to reflect the flexibility allowed under State law, administrative code, and policy; coding for Holiday Leave should be created that is comparable to Sick Leave, Vacation Leave, and Community Service Leave; requiring annual training for all faculty and staff about clear, concise, applicable “leave” coding so all faculty and staff may observe a holiday other than one officially recognized by the State of North Carolina; and publish these new rules, available to all employees of the University, to clarify these changes. This action will serve to protect the University, supervisors, and their teams.
Signed on behalf of The Employee Forum of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
Signed on behalf of the UNC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council,
Leah Cox, Co-Chair
Sylvia Frazier-Bowers, Co-Chair