Friday, February 8, 2013

Support Animal Policy

In the past few years, we have heard from a number of students who are interested in bringing Support Animals to campus and, in light of those requests, we are pleased to announce the implementation of a new policy, the full details of which can be found here. While we will still generally limit the presence of privately owned animals on campus, we are now committed to accommodating anyone with disabilities for whom these animals provide tremendous comfort and assistance.

Morgan Murray, the ADA/Section 504 Director, who oversees the Office of Disability Services (ODS), is responsible for implementing our Service and Support Animal policy, in collaboration with other offices, and for guiding students with disabilities who request accommodation.  Each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with both the needs of the individual and the concerns of the College community in mind.

To give you some of the specifics, a Service Animal is broadly defined as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.  In compliance with ADA regulations, individually trained dogs that qualify as Service Animals are permitted on campus with their owner.  A Support Animal is a dog or other common domestic animal that provides therapeutic support to an individual with an identified disability in their living space. In order to bring a Support Animal into campus housing, the owner must complete the ODS request application. Students interested in pursuing this accommodation are encouraged to meet with the ADA/Section 504 Director in advance of such request.  Again, requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

We do understand that the presence of an animal in a residence hall may be of concern to other students.  The Offices of Disability Services and Residential Life and Housing will make every effort to notify residents in the building where a Service or Support Animal will be located so that anyone who has medical issues affected by animals (e.g., asthma, severe allergies) can contact the Office of Disability Services as soon as possible.  If conflicting disabilities exist, we will work together to resolve the problem as efficiently and effectively as possible.

We hope that all members of the Barnard community recognize and respect the working role of Service or Support Animals, and encourage you to review the Animal Policy for specific guidance.  For many, the presence of these animals is truly invaluable and will optimize their academic experience.

Respectfully, Dean Hinkson (Dean of the College)