NY State University to Be Closed on High Holy Days

A policy under which all units of the State University of New York will be closed on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, effective this fall, has been adopted by the SUNY trustees, a spokesman for Governor Hugh Carey reported today.

The spokesman said the trustees, at their regular meeting on June 22, approved a resolution declaring that “without limiting the authority of the chief administration officer of each campus with respect to additional days of religious observance, it shall be the policy of the State University that classes or other courses of instruction at state-operated campuses shall be suspended on those days of religious observance known as Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.”

The action of the trustees followed a dispute at the State University at Buffalo over a decision of officials of that university to hold classes next fall during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Jewish students at Buffalo protested during May the administration’s decision to refuse to cancel classes on the High Holy Days. The Jewish students cited the Buffalo University’s policy of being closed on Christmas and Easter and said they considered the policy of classes on the High Holy Days discriminatory.

The spokesman said Carey, who reportedly had raised the Buffalo dispute issue in May with James Kelly, acting chancellor of SUNY, was pleased over the decision to shut down all SUNY campuses on the High Holy Days and happy that the matter had been resolved. The spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that, in the absence of a state-wide SUNY policy before, each state university had been free to fix policy for religious holiday closings and that the pattern for the Jewish High Holy Days has varied from school to school.

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