Phi Beta Cons

Vanderbilt University to Observe Witches’ Holidays

Break out your frog eyes, your cat tails, and your cast iron boiling pots. There’s a new way to cut class at Vanderbilt, just in time for Halloween. According to The Tennessean:

Wiccan and pagan students at Vanderbilt University might get to take an excused day off from class to dance around the maypole.

Vanderbilt’s Office of Religious Life recently sent professors a calendar of 2011-12 “religious holy days and observances” and a related policy on student absences. The faith listed next to four of the days on the calendar is “Wicca/Pagan.”

Wicca, whose believers are called Wiccans or witches, is just one form of paganism, an umbrella term for beliefs in multiple gods and goddesses…

Asked how professors would be able to know if students really planned to observe those holy days, Lewis said, “It’s on the honor system.”

According to the article, the Wicca belief system does not actually require “Wiccans or witches” to limit or avoid work on these special days. Nevertheless, students who miss regularly scheduled exams in order to observe the special days may be able to do so without penalty under the new guidelines. “It’s an agreement that would have to be worked out with the faculty member,” a university spokesperson said.

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