Frequently Asked Questions

General

  • What accommodations does the University of Richmond provide?

    Provided accommodations are based on individualized review, and are approved on a case-by-case basis. Approvals are based on a combination of a student’s history and the documentation they submit as a part of their application. Accommodations are not based purely on a diagnosis, but rather on the functional limitations and/or the impact of a disability on each individual student’s everyday functioning. Therefore, provided accommodations vary from student to student.

    Formal review of documentation and approval of accommodations is reserved only for matriculated University of Richmond students.

  • What is the difference between a Service Animal (SA), an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), and a pet?

    A Service Animal is defined as a dog (or in some instances, a miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability, such as 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, or alerting an individual prior to the onset of a seizure. A service animal must be housebroken and under the effective control of its owner at all times. Generally, service animals have the same access to campus facilities and spaces as their owner except in specific circumstances, such as when the animal’s presence would pose a safety hazard.

    An Emotional Support Animal is any animal that provides a demonstrated therapeutic benefit to a person with a disability. Unlike a service animal, an ESA does not require training, nor do they accompany a person with a disability at all times (their presence is typically limited to a student’s housing/residence). In order for an ESA to reside in a residence hall, a student must apply for a housing accommodation through Disability Services.

    *Of note, there is currently no governing organization that certifies or verifies an animal as an Emotional Support Animal. While many organizations make this claim, a certificate, vest, special leash, or letter from “certifying” organizations does not automatically qualify an animal as an ESA.*

    A pet is any other companion animal that is not an ESA or SA.

  • Are there deadlines for applying for or providing accommodations?

    Richmond has recommended guidelines for application dates due to logistics and the fact that accommodations are never retroactive (meaning they are only enforceable from the time approved accommodations are disclosed to campus stakeholders going forward). Students can apply for accommodations at any time, but with the understanding that application review, accommodation approval, and accommodation initiation take time. Additionally, some accommodations (particularly for housing) are based on availability, and delays in application may result in variability in the ability to implement or utilize accommodations.

Student-specific

  • What accommodations does the University of Richmond provide?

    Provided accommodations are based on individualized review, and are approved on a case-by-case basis. Approvals are based on a combination of a student’s history and the documentation they submit as a part of their application. Accommodations are not based purely on a diagnosis, but rather on the functional limitations and/or the impact of a disability on each individual student’s everyday functioning. Therefore, provided accommodations vary from student to student.

    Formal review of documentation and approval of accommodations is reserved only for matriculated University of Richmond students.

  • What is the difference between a Service Animal (SA), an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), and a pet?

    A Service Animal is defined as a dog (or in some instances, a miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability, such as 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, or alerting an individual prior to the onset of a seizure. A service animal must be housebroken and under the effective control of its owner at all times. Generally, service animals have the same access to campus facilities and spaces as their owner except in specific circumstances, such as when the animal’s presence would pose a safety hazard.

    An Emotional Support Animal is any animal that provides a demonstrated therapeutic benefit to a person with a disability. Unlike a service animal, an ESA does not require training, nor do they accompany a person with a disability at all times (their presence is typically limited to a student’s housing/residence). In order for an ESA to reside in a residence hall, a student must apply for a housing accommodation through Disability Services.

    *Of note, there is currently no governing organization that certifies or verifies an animal as an Emotional Support Animal. While many organizations make this claim, a certificate, vest, special leash, or letter from “certifying” organizations does not automatically qualify an animal as an ESA.*

    A pet is any other companion animal that is not an ESA or SA.

  • Are there deadlines for applying for or providing accommodations?

    Richmond has recommended guidelines for application dates due to logistics and the fact that accommodations are never retroactive (meaning they are only enforceable from the time approved accommodations are disclosed to campus stakeholders going forward). Students can apply for accommodations at any time, but with the understanding that application review, accommodation approval, and accommodation initiation take time. Additionally, some accommodations (particularly for housing) are based on availability, and delays in application may result in variability in the ability to implement or utilize accommodations.

  • What does the application and accommodation process look like in college for students?

    Generally speaking, a student submits an application along with documentation supporting their accommodation request. Then, depending on the type of accommodation requested, applications are either discussed one-on-one with the Disability Director in an intake meeting (for academic accommodations), or are reviewed by committee (for housing and dining accommodations). Outcomes of all decisions are communicated to students via a Disability Accommodation Notice (DAN) for approvals, or a follow-up letter for deferrals.

  • What type of documentation do students need to submit?

    Documentation should follow the University’s documentation guidelines. Generally speaking, documentation should verify/specify a diagnosis, clearly articulate the impact of the diagnosis on a student’s everyday functioning, and be relatively current. Documentation typically takes the form of a detailed written report from an evaluator, or a detailed letter from a provider with a long-standing history with the student.

  • Is there an appeals/grievance process for students not approved for an accommodation?

    Yes. There are two additional persons at the University above Disability Services. More detailed information can be found on the University’s Disability Accommodation Appeals page.

  • Do students need to tell their instructors anything about their disability?

    No. Other than providing a copy of your Disability Accommodation Notice (DAN), instructor’s may not request additional information related to your disability. Some students feel comfortable sharing additional information about their history or diagnosis with their instructor(s), but there is no obligation to do so.

  • How often do students need to ask for a new Disability Accommodation Notice (DAN)?

    Unless a student is provisionally or temporarily approved for accommodations, accommodations apply to a student’s entire tenure in their program at Richmond. However, students who registered with DS beginning in June 2020 are asked to request an updated copy of their DAN each year, as each letter is dated for one academic year at a time.

Faculty-specific