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CUNY not to hold classes on four cultural holidays

City University of New York | Wikimedia Commons
City University of New York | Wikimedia Commons

The CUNY Board of Trustees follows NYC public schools by voting to observe Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Lunar New Year and Diwali as official holidays starting in Spring 2025. 

CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez announced that the college system will become one of the first universities in the nation to designate these holidays as official holidays on the school calendar. 

Currently, CUNY does not hold classes on widely observed federal holidays such as Christmas and Juneteenth. Additionally, classes are not held during Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. 

“With this vote, the Board of Trustees has taken an important step to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at CUNY,” said CUNY Board of Trustees Chairperson William Thompson Jr

“For an institution like ours, whose students observe many faiths and mirror the great diversity of our city, we are pleased to assure them the freedom and flexibility to celebrate with their families and communities during these important days of observance.”

In the Spring 2025 semester, CUNY will not hold classes on Jan. 29, 2025 in honor of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. It celebrates the turn of the traditional lunisolar calendar and is an important cultural holiday for many Asian communities. 

CUNY will also not hold classes on March 31, 2025 for Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. Likewise, classes will not be held on June 5, 2025 for Eid al-Adha, known as the Feast of Sacrifice, which falls during the summer session. 

Classes will also not be held on Oct. 20, 2025 for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which celebrates new beginnings by lighting lamps to show that light is more powerful than darkness, and good is more powerful than evil. 

“As one of the largest and most diverse public universities in the country, CUNY has a responsibility to represent and reflect its diverse religions and cultures,”  Rodríguez said

“Students who observe Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Lunar New Year or Diwali will be able to honor those traditions without worrying about their schoolwork. I’m proud to see CUNY advance our commitment to inclusivity.”

This announcement builds on CUNY’s existing religious accommodations protocol. Under CUNY policy, students have the right to request religious accommodations for any scheduled academic activities that may conflict with their religious observances. 

To discuss accommodation due to religious observance for the upcoming holidays or any other religious observance throughout the academic year, students can speak to their professor or someone at their Office of Student Life. 

The new official holidays will make it so students do not have to take an extra step to ensure that their religious observances do not conflict with their academic work. 

“I am glad to see our University ensure students do not have to decide between attending their classes and observing their traditional holidays,” said Trustee Salimatou Doumbouya, chairperson of the CUNY University Student Senate.

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