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Requesting a Support Animal in College Housing Policy
Lycoming College provides reasonable accommodations for a student with a disability who has a verifiable need of having a Support Animal, including an Emotional Support Animal, in College housing. A reasonable accommodation is an exception to the College’s rules, policies, practices, or services that a student with a disability may need to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing.
This form is to request for a Support Animal, and NOT a Service Animal. What is the difference?
- Service Animals are defined as dogs, and in some instances miniature horses, that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These tasks can include things like pulling a wheelchair, guiding a person who is visually impaired, or alerting a person who is having a seizure. The tasks a service dog can perform are not limited to this list. However, the work or task a service dog does must be directly related to the person's disability. Service Animals may accompany persons with disabilities into places that the public normally goes. Students with questions about Service Animals should contact the Office of Accessibility Resources using the appropriate campus contact information: email email@example.com or phone 570-321-4050.
- A Support Animal is an assistance animal, other than a service animal, that does work, performs tasks, provides assistance, and/or provides therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities. An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a type of Support Animal. An ESA provides emotional support and comfort to individuals with psychiatric disabilities and other mental impairments. A Support Animal, including an ESA, is typically a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal. A Support Animal need not be trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability.
To request a Support Animal in College housing, a health care provider (such as a physician, optometrist, psychiatrist, psychologist, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, nurse, or clinical licensed social worker) or a third party who has personal knowledge of the student’s disability (as described by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and is determined by Housing Accommodation Committee (HAC) in good faith to be reliable may complete this form.
Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for Support Animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee. Such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for a Support Animal. By contrast, the College will consider as reliable documentation from a health care professional that confirms a person’s disability and/or need for a Support Animal when the provider has personal knowledge of the individual.
The information completed on this form will be reviewed by the HAC to determine:
- That the student is a person with a documented disability;
- That the Support Animal being requested is necessary to afford the student, as a person with a disability, an equal opportunity to use and enjoy on-campus housing facilities; and
- That there is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the support that the Support Animal provides.
This form is offered as a guide and HAC will review all forms of documentation submitted. To the extent this information has already been submitted to HAC in another format, the College will not require re-submission.
The College will use good faith efforts to notify the student of its final determination in writing within 2 weeks of its receipt of documentation from the health care provider or third party with personal knowledge of the student’s disability (as described by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) who the HAC has determined in good faith to be reliable.
If the College determines that a student is not eligible for a Support Animal, or the specific Support Animal requested, the College will provide the student written notification of the denial and the reasons for the denial. The College will provide written notification of the grievance procedures that the student may use to challenge a denial. A student who is approved to have a Support Animal in College housing will be required to acknowledge and comply with the Support Animal Owner’s Rights and Responsibilities, as outlined below. These rights and responsibilities will be reviewed with the student by a member of HAC.
Housing Accommodation Committee Review Process
To properly evaluate how Lycoming College can best meet the student’s need for requesting a Support Animal in College housing, the College requires information from a health care provider or reliable third party who has personal knowledge of the student’s disability (as described by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), including the use of a Support Animal to address limitations that result from such disability.
Student Information – to be completed by the student
Specifically, the information provided on this form will be reviewed to determine whether: 1. The student is a person with a documented disability; 2. The Support Animal being requested is necessary to afford the student, as a person with a disability, an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the on-campus housing facilities; and 3. There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the support that the Support Animal provides. Please respond to all questions below and submit additional related information as appropriate.
Request Form for a Support Animal in Campus Housing
Other Support Animal Documentation
If appropriate to the animal type e.g., dog or cat, students must provide documentation from a professional veterinarian certifying that the Support Animal is in good health and current on all applicable state and local vaccinations.
The student requesting a Support Animal must also provide a recent photo of the Support Animal. Additionally, this document must include the photo, name of student, residence hall and room number, and physical description of the Support Animal.
Student’s Rights as the Animal Owner:
- The College may not ask for or require a student with a disability to pay a surcharge or comply with other requirements generally not applicable to students without animals.
- A student with a disability may submit a request for a Support Animal in College housing at any time. The College must consider this request, even if the school year is already in session and/or the student has already brought the animal into College housing.
- The student is not required to equip a Service Animal or Support Animal with a vest or other item identifying it as such.
- While the interactive process is necessarily an open exchange of information, the College may not require the student to disclose details about their diagnosis, the severity of their disability, or medical records. The College may not require a medical examination.
- The College may not insist on specific types of evidence if the information provided to the College meets the requirements of the College’s policy with respect to Support Animals, as set forth in the Guideline’s regarding Animals on College Property.
- In the event the College determines that the information provided to the College is insufficient to confirm a student’s disability or disability-related need for a Support Animal, the College will provide the student with an opportunity to continue the “interactive Request for Support Animal in College Housing process,” including by discussing the reasons for the denial, by discussing alternative accommodations, and/or by allowing the student to supplement the information provided.
- The College will not deny a reasonable request for a Support Animal because the request would impose a fundamental alteration to the nature of the College’s operations or impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the College, without first engaging in an interactive process with the student to discuss whether an alternative accommodation may be effective in meeting the student’s disability-related needs.
- In the event the College determines that a student is not eligible or is no longer eligible for a Support Animal, or the specific Support Animal requested, the College will provide the student written notification of the reasons for this denial. The College will provide written notification of the grievance procedures that the student may use to challenge this denial.
Responsibilities of a Student with a Support Animal
- The care and supervision of the Support Animal is solely the responsibility of the student (including, but not limited to, regular feeding, bathing, grooming, daily care, and veterinary services). The College is not responsible for the animal’s care or supervision.
- The student is responsible to ensure the Support Animal is housebroken or litter trained, and in good health.
- A Support Animal must be maintained under standard restraints such as a carrier or collar/harness and leash when outdoors, in public areas, or in transit.
- The student is responsible to clean up after and properly dispose of their Support Animal's feces while on campus. Litter boxes should be placed on student-provided mats on tiled or vinyl floors so that feces and urine are not tracked onto carpeted surfaces. The student is responsible for properly containing and regularly disposing of all animal waste in designated outside trash dumpsters. Dog feces must be immediately removed, placed in a plastic bag, securely tied and disposed of in an outside dumpster. The owner is to arrange for immediate removal of animal waste if unable to perform the task personally.
- When the student leaves their residence for any length of time, the Support Animal must be housed in a crate, carrier, kennel, or other appropriate enclosure.
- Lycoming College staff are not responsible for the retrieval of the Support Animal in the event the animal escapes or becomes lost.
- It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the Support Animal does not interfere with the normal activities of the residents or negatively impact the students who reside in the residence.
- The student is solely responsible for any property damage or bodily injury caused by the Support Animal.
- The student is responsible to keep the Support Animal under control and to take effective action when it may become out of control.
- The student must notify the Chair of the Housing Accommodation Committee in writing if the animal is no longer needed as a Support Animal or is no longer in residence.
- The student must notify the Chair of the Housing Accommodation Committee in writing if the animal has changed significant physical features (etc., ageing).
Animal Supervision and Plan for Designated School Breaks
The approved student is the sole caretaker of the Support Animal at all times. It is expected that the Support Animal will remain with the student over scheduled school breaks, whether the student chooses to leave campus or remain on campus during those time periods.
In the event of an emergency (i.e. an unanticipated life event), the student should identify an alternate caretaker who agrees to care for the Support Animal during that time period (i.e. situations expected to last 2-3 days).
At any time that alternate care is provided the student must file the caretaker’s name and contact information with Chair of the Housing Accommodation Committee who will coordinate with the Office of Public Safety to unlock the residence as needed. Failure to arrange an alternate caretaker may result in the College arranging for the animal to be boarded at the owner’s expense.
Campus Access and Restricted Areas
Lycoming College allows Support Animals only in residential facilities. A Support Animal must be contained within the Support Animal owner’s private residential area (individual room or apartment) at all times, except when outdoor toileting (if applicable) or transporting outside the student’s residential area to leave the building using a carrier or collar/harness and leash. The Support Animal cannot be taken into other students’ private rooms or apartments and is not permitted in the common areas of the residential facilities including lounges, bathrooms, laundry facilities, etc. or in other public areas of Lycoming College such as classrooms, academic buildings, administrative buildings, libraries, dining services areas, fitness center, etc. without the approval through the reasonable accommodation process administered through the Accessibility Services.
When an Accommodation May be Revoked
Lycoming College may revoke the approval of the accommodation and require the student to remove a Support Animal from campus immediately for any of the following reasons:
- If the Support Animal poses a threat to the health or safety of others on campus, is unruly or disruptive, or is dangerous or out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it.
- If the Support Animal disrupts the educational environment of Lycoming College and/or the residential community.
- If the individual fails to remove the Support Animal by the deadline specified after an incident.
- If the student violates any of the requirements or responsibilities in this policy.
Lycoming College has the right to immediately correct potentially harmful situations, including entry into the student’s private residential area and removal of a Support Animal. Lycoming College retains the right to remove and board the animal at the owner’s expense. Should the animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the student is expected to fulfill their housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.