Emotional Support Animal Rights and Responsibilities
Siena Heights University recognizes the importance of “Service Animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and “Emotional Support Animals” (ESA), which are a separate category of animals that provide necessary, disability-related emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability, but which are not considered Service Animals under the ADAAA.
The university is committed to allowing individuals with disabilities full-participation and equal access to the university’s programs and activities, including university housing.
MAINTAINING AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL (ESA)
This policy explains the specific requirements applicable to an individual’s use of an ESA in university housing. The university may amend this policy as circumstances require, as determined by the university’s sole discretion. This policy applies solely to Emotional Support Animals. It does not apply to “Service Animals” as defined by the ADAAA.
Although it is the university’s policy that individuals are generally prohibited from having animals of any type in university housing, the university will consider a request by a student with a disability for reasonable accommodation from this prohibition to allow an ESA. However, no ESA may be kept in university housing at any time prior to the individual receiving approval as a reasonable accommodation. The presence of only one ESA will be approved for a student, in order to fulfill the intent of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) requirements in providing support to a student with a mental health disability.
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a category of animals that provide necessary emotional support to individuals with a mental or psychiatric disability and is selected to play an integral part of a person’s treatment process.
The question in determining if an ESA will be allowed in university housing is whether or not the ESA is necessary because of the individual’s disability to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy university housing and its presence in university housing is reasonable. However, even if the individual with a disability establishes necessity for an ESA and it is allowed in university housing, an ESA is not permitted in other areas of the university (e.g. dining facilities, library, academic buildings, athletic buildings and facilities, classrooms, labs, etc.) without proper clearance and accommodation approval.
To be allowed to have an ESA reside in campus housing, the student must first contact the Office of Accessibility and complete the appropriate documentation requirements to the right.
These requirements include:
Once the ESA request has been approved by the Office of Accessibility, the student must request a meeting with the Accessibility Coordinator or designee to review the requirements and documents related to housing an ESA under this policy. The ESA may not move in until this entire process is complete.
Approval for an ESA in campus housing must be reviewed and updated annually by the Accessibility Coordinator. The approval of an ESA is animal-specific and is not transferable to another animal.
The student will provide written consent for Disability Services to disclose the presence of an ESA to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the ESA including, but not limited to, residence life personnel, buildings and grounds staff, and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s). This information shall be limited to information related to the ESA and shall not include information related to the individual’s disability, in accordance with state and federal law.
The presence of the ESA may be noticed by others visiting or residing in university housing. The student will agree that staff may acknowledge the presence of the ESA and explain that under certain circumstances Emotional Support Animals are permitted for persons with documented disabilities, without disclosing information related to the individual’s specific disability. An ID tag for approved ESAs will be provided to the student and must be worn by all animals that are leash-able.
Guidelines and requirements for ESA
An ESA’s behavior, noise, odor and/or waste shall not exceed reasonable standards for a well-behaved animal. An ESA may be removed if the ESA or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the university housing community. The university may use following factors (among others) in determining whether the presence of the ESA is grounds for removal, or in the making of housing assignments or adjustments for students with ESAs:
OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES FOR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS (ESA)ESA care
The university may require the individual to remove the ESA from university housing if:
The student has a right to appeal any ESA-related decision in writing within two (2) business days to the Dean for Students and ADA Coordinator. To the extent reasonable, a decision will be returned to the student within five (5) business days of the receipt of the appeal. The decision of this administrator is the final decision for the university.
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