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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tennessee College Calendar Includes Wiccan Holidays

Vanderbilt University's Office of Religious Life made faculty members aware of four Wiccan/Pagan holidays by including them on the 2011-12 religious holy days and observances calendar. The holidays include Samhain (Ocotber 31st) and Beltane (May 1st). Vanderbilt's religious policy indicates that students might be absent on religious days such as these, and faculty and staff must honor those rights.

Allowing these absences is up to professors. A spokesperson told reporters they had no way of knowing who was of what faith amongst the student body and faculty, and whether or not one celebrates a religious holy day - or is even actually a member of the faith s/he claims - is "on the honor system."

Vanderbilt employees have only two paid holy days - Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, they also get two personal days in addition to vacation time. Students have several more, including numerous federal holidays. Tennessee is known to be fiercely conservative, but Vanderbilt follows the BBC Interfaith Calendar, which includes Pagan holidays.

The word "holiday" literally means "holy day."

© C Harris Lynn, 2011

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