UC campuses postpone start of academic year to avoid High Holiday conflicts

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is one of the schools changing its academic year schedule to accommodate Jewish students. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) A majority of University of California (UC) campuses will begin their 2014-15 academic year later than usual, and their winter break will be a week shorter, to avoid scheduling conflicts with the Jewish High Holidays.

Officials say the 2014-15 schedule change comes as a result of a 2007 policy issued due to complaints from Jewish families that move-in days at dorms have been held on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. The policy says UC schools must shift their academic calendars to avoid forcing Jewish students to violate religious bans from working on the holidays. Rosh Hashanah falls on Sept. 25-26, 2014, and Yom Kippur is on Oct. 4.

Jewish University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) student Catherine Eshaghzadeh told UCLA's Daily Bruin newspaper that she welcomes the calendar shift because the Jewish holidays are a time "when we become a family… I don't think [the university] should make people choose [between classes and observance of the holiday]."

Most UC campuses will begin fall classes Oct. 2 and end the term on Dec. 19. The winter term will begin Jan. 5. Two campuses, UC Berkeley and UC Merced, are exempt from this change because they follow a semester calendar, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Posted on January 15, 2014 .