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Service and Assistance Animals

Service Animals

As explained below, any student, faculty or staff member with disabilities shall be permitted to have his or her Service Animal accompany him or her on the University’s campus and in on-campus housing.

A Service Animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. 

The work or task a Service Animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the owner’s disability.  Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals. 

Service animals will be permitted in on-campus housing, as well as in classrooms, dining facilities and other facilities of the University.

When a student, faculty or staff member seeks to have a Service Animal present on campus as a reasonable accommodation for a disability, the University’s disability advisor / coordinator shall limit the evaluation of such request to the following questions:

  • Is this a Service Animal that is required because of a disability; and
  • What work or tasks has the Service Animal been trained to perform.

The disability advisor / coordinator shall not inquire about the nature or extent of the person’s disability when evaluating a request for a Service Animal.  The disability advisor / coordinator shall limit the evaluation to the two questions listed above even when the nature of the individual’s disability and/or the work performed by the Service Animal is not readily apparent.  If it is readily apparent that the Service Animal is trained to do work or tasks for an individual with a disability, for example, a guide dog leading a person who is blind, the University shall not pose the foregoing questions to the person seeking to have the Service Animal present on campus.

A Service Animal shall have reasonable access to all campus facilities that are generally open to students, faculty and staff, including residence halls.  However, a Service Animal may be denied access to campus facilities if:  (1) the Service Animal is out of control and its handler does not take effective action to control it; (2) the Service Animal is not housebroken; or (3) the Service Animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, which threat cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by reasonable modification to other polices, practices, and procedures. 

Assistance Animals

As explained below, a student, faculty or staff member living in on-campus housing, may be permitted to have an Assistance Animal reside with him or her if the presence of such Assistance Animal constitutes a reasonable accommodation for such individual’s disability. 

An Assistance Animal is defined as an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a student’s disability. Examples of work, tasks or assistance provided by an Assistance Animal include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired to sounds, providing protection or rescue assistance, pulling a wheelchair, fetching times, alerting persons to impending seizures, or providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support.  The work or task an Assistance Animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the owner’s disability or, in the case of emotional support, to one or more symptoms or effects of such disability.  Assistance Animals are not pets.  Dogs are the most common type of Assistance Animal, but other animals may also be Assistance Animals. Assistance Animals that do not qualify as Service Animals may be excluded from facilities, other than the owner’s on-campus housing facility, where pets are otherwise prohibited.

The University’s disability advisor / coordinator shall evaluate a disability accommodation request seeking to have a Service Animal reside in on-campus housing through an individualized assessment and a manner similar to that used to evaluate all other accommodation requests.  In the case of a request for an Assistance Animal, the disability advisor / coordinator shall specifically consider:

  • Whether the individual has a disability; and
  • Whether the individual have a disability-related need for the Assistance Animal, meaning does the Assistance Animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or service for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates on or more of the identified symptoms or effects of the individual’s disability.

In conducting this evaluation, the disability advisors / coordinator may seek reliable documentation of the individual’s disability, if not readily apparent, and his or her disability-related need for the Assistance Animal, if not readily apparent.

If the request for a disability accommodation is approved, the Assistance Animal will be permitted to reside in on-campus housing, subject to the terms and conditions of the University’s Policy on Service and Assistance Animals in On-Campus Housing.

A request for an Assistance Animal may be denied even when the individual has a disability-related need for the animal if its presence in on-campus housing: (1) would impose an undue financial and administrative burden; (2) would fundamentally alter the nature of the University’s on-campus housing services; (3) the specific Assistance Animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation; or (4) the specific Assistance Animal would cause substantial physical damage to the property of the University or others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.