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The University of Southampton
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Our commitment

Religion and belief policy

We are committed to creating a University community that facilitates the practice of religion by its staff and students. The University of Southampton is a diverse international community with staff and students from many different religious backgrounds and beliefs all working and studying together.

Please note that this policy is due to be reviewed in 2022.

Read the religion and belief policy

What is the difference between religion and belief?

A religion is a set of beliefs with a clear structure. They often have cultural practices and an authority who organises worship, shares its teachings and promotes its interests. Examples include Islam, Judaism, Rastafarianism or Jainism. The Equality Act 2010 also protects people who follow a religious denomination, such as Catholicism or Greek Orthodox.

A belief can be religious or philosophical. The law defines a belief as one which is genuinely held about a substantial aspect of human life or behaviour, that is not incompatible with human dignity or in conflict with the fundamental rights of others. Examples include humanism, pacifism, veganism and a belief in man-made climate change. Beliefs such as Holocaust denial and racial superiority are specifically not protected under the Equality Act 2010 , because they conflict with the rights of others.

The Equality Act 2010 also protects people who do not have a religion or belief. For example, Atheism or Agnosticism.

What prayer facilities are available at the University?

We have a Muslim Prayer Facility in building 38, and additional space may be made available for prayer on Muslim holy days during Ramadan and Eid.

The Faith and Reflection Centre is open daily with a large room for quiet reflection, and a smaller room for private prayer and reflection.

What support is there for me to speak to someone about my belief?

The Faith and Reflection Centre hosts a multi-faith chaplaincy, with religious and spiritual leaders visiting from a range of faiths. Some of the chaplains and faith leaders are dedicated to service at the University, while others visit on specific days as part of their wider work. Staff and student can also speak with Faith Advisors for faith guidance.

Last update: 10 February 2022 [AH]

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