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Religious and Spiritual Observance Policy

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Policy states Victoria University's (VU) commitment to respecting and accommodating the religious and spiritual beliefs and practices of members of the University community, including provision of religious or spiritual observance space and multi-faith chaplains.

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Section 2 - Accountability

Accountable / Responsible Officer

Role

Accountable Officer Vice-President (Infrastructure and Students)
Responsible Officer Director, Student Services

Key Decision-making powers under the Policy (if applicable)

(Delegated) Power

Role


Final decision on written requests for appointment of multi-faith Chaplains.
Director, Student Services
Final decision on written requests for applications to use a University room for religious or spiritual observance purposes. Director, Student Services
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Section 3 - Scope

(2) All students and staff.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(3) Staff

(4) Student

(5) Chaplain

(6) Prayer Room

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Section 5 - Policy Statement

(7) VU is committed to:

  1. Opportunity and success for any student from any background.
  2. Being an inclusive university for our diverse community of students.
  3. Respecting the religious and spiritual beliefs and practices of members of the University community.
  4. Academic excellence and providing high quality, engaging career-based tertiary education at all levels of vocational and higher education.

(8) VU acknowledges that religious or spiritual observances of students may conflict with their academic obligations and religious or spiritual observances of staff may conflict with their employment obligations. This could potentially lead to a disadvantage if an accommodation is not arranged.

(9) Where reasonable, accommodation could take the form of:

  1. Students and Staff: release from duties or excused from class attendance or study requirements.
  2. Students: flexibility in the provision of learning materials, assessments and access to facilities.
  3. Staff: flexible working arrangements and/or leave entitlements as appropriate.
    1. The provision of Clause 54 of the Victoria University Enterprise Agreement 2013 applies to academic and general staff who are required to take specified days of leave for religious and cultural observance.
      1. The University will not unreasonably refuse the granting of cultural and/religious leave as unpaid leave.
      2. Staff members who identify and are accepted as members of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities shall be entitled to paid leave up to a maximum of five working days, and leave without pay up to a maximum of ten working days, per calendar year for the purpose of fulfilling ceremonial obligations. Such obligations may be ‘traditional’ or ‘urban’ in nature and may include initiation, birthing and naming, funerals, smoking or cleansing and sacred site or land ceremonies.
    2. Clause 46 of the Victoria University (TAFE Teaching Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2014-16 provides for Ceremonial/Cultural leave.

(10) VU is committed to taking all practical steps to support and enable all students and staff to meet their obligations or needs in relation to their religious and spiritual observance, including -

  1. considering written requests from students and staff to use a University room for religious or spiritual observance purposes;
  2. provision of spiritual support for students and staff by the appointment of chaplains. 

(11) Please see the Religious and Spiritual Observance Procedure for further information.

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Section 6 - Procedures

(12) See Religious and Spiritual Observance Procedure.

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Section 7 - Guidelines

(13) Nil