Following a vote by the CUNY Board of Trustees, CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez today announced that CUNY will become one of the first universities in the nation to designate Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Lunar New Year and Diwali as holidays on the official school calendar. The move aligns CUNY with public schools across New York City for the first time.

During the Spring 2025 semester, CUNY will not hold classes on January 29, 2025, in honor of Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar calendar, an important cultural holiday for many Asian communities. Nor will classes be held 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, or on October 20, 2025, for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

“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 C. 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.”

“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,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “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.” 

“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 (USS). “This decision represents the tireless advocacy of CUNY student leaders. As the student trustee on CUNY’s Board, I voted and advocated for these changes. I am proud that our university is committed to celebrating the rich diversity of our students, faculty and administration. This decision to formally recognize Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Lunar New Year and Diwali is a huge step towards equity. It’s a historic win!”

The announcement brings CUNY in alignment with New York State law and New York City Public Schools. CUNY is closed for widely observed federal holidays such as Christmas and Juneteenth. In addition, CUNY’s 25 colleges do not hold classes during Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Student Accommodations

Today’s announcement builds on CUNY’s existing protocols concerning religious accommodation. Under New York State Education Law 224-A and CUNY policy, students have the right to request religious accommodations for any scheduled academic activities that may conflict with their religious observances. Religious accommodations are likewise available to faculty and staff. To raise awareness about religious accommodations, CUNY recently launched a promotional campaign across the University. 

– Story courtesy of CUNY Media Relations