Housing Accommodations

Policy

Gardner-Webb University will consider reasonable housing accommodations for students with disabilities when documentation shows that a private room is a necessary method of meeting the housing needs of a student with a disability. Gardner-Webb will consider exceptions to its general room rate structure. In order for the student with a disability to be approved for a private room, he/she must provide documentation from a qualified professional addressing the student’s disability and the need for special housing accommodations. Each case will be individually evaluated with respect to the documentation presented and the accommodations requested. Indicating a request for a private room on the accommodation request module in AIM DOES NOT take the place of the housing application. Gardner-Webb University has wheelchair accessible rooms and rooms equipped with visual fire alarms and doorbells. These room requests may also be indicated on the accommodation request module in AIM.

Procedure

  • The student will indicate his/her intent to request housing accommodations and exception to general room rate structure in the accommodation request module in AIM.
  • A housing application must be completed and on file with the Gardner-Webb University Office of Housing and Residence Education.
  • The student must provide the Noel Center with specific documentation and/or additional information from a qualified professional addressing the need for a single room.

Service Animals

Policy

Gardner-Webb University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities who require the assistance of service animals.

Service Dogs

The Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act 2010 defines a service animal as a dog trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. These tasks include but are not limited to: guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with hearing loss to intruders or sounds, aiding persons with mobility impairments, seizure disorders, or to retrieve dropped items.

Responsibility of Persons with Service Dogs

Care and Supervision: The care and supervision of the dog is the sole responsibility of the individual who uses the dog’s service. The person must maintain control of the dog at all times. The person is also responsible for ensuring the clean up of all dog waste, and when appropriate, toilet the dog in areas designated by the University.

Vaccination: The dog must be immunized against diseases, according to North Carolina law. Dogs must have current vaccinations against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus and must wear a rabies vaccination tag.

License tag: All service dogs will wear a license tag as required by local laws.

Leashing: The dog must be on a leash at all times except where the dog needs to perform a task requiring it to travel beyond the length of constraint or where the person is physically unable to maintain a dog on a leash due to a disability.

Damage: The owner of a service dog is financially responsible for any damage to persons or property caused by their dog.

Disruptive Behavior: A dog may be removed if its behavior is so unruly or disruptive as to disrupt the educational environment. If such behavior persists, the owner may be prohibited from bringing the dog on campus until the owner takes significant and effective steps to correct the dog’s behavioral problem.

Emotional Support Animals

Policy

Specialized Terms and Definitions

Emotional Support: An animal prescribed to an individual with a disability by a medical provider that is familiar with the individual to help alleviate symptoms associated with a person’s diagnosed disability. An emotional support animal does not require specific training. An emotional support animal is not a service animal.

Student/Owner/Handler: A student who has been approved by the appropriate departments to have an emotional support animal in Housing and Residence Education Facilities. Student/Owner/Handler will be referred to as Student from this point forward in this policy.

Service Animal: Under the American Disability Act/Amendment Act, a Service Animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform a specific task(s) for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. Service animals are not covered by this policy.

Pets: Any animal that does not qualify as either an emotional support animal or service animal and has commonly been kept as a pet in households, such as dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters. This term excludes exotic/wild animals.

Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability for all types of housing transactions, including housing owned by the University.

Reasonable Accommodation under the Fair Housing Act: A change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces.

Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

An emotional support animal may not reside in Housing and Residence Education Facilities without the approval of authorized University Officials as outlined in this Policy and as required under the Federal Fair Housing Act.

A student requesting permission to have an emotional support animal in his or her on-campus housing must provide the NOEL Center for Disability Resources with appropriate documentation 60 days prior to the start of the semester in which they are enrolling to ensure sufficient time to review all pertinent information. Student requests may be accepted and reviewed after this date, but Gardner-Webb University cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation needs, including any needs that develop throughout the semester.

Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for emotional 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 establish that an individual has a disability-related need for an emotional support/comfort animal.

The Noel Center for Disability Resources requires such advance notice in order to gather, review, and verify the necessary documentation, which includes but is not limited to:  verification of a disability, the determination of any conflicting conditions or disabilities in the immediate vicinity where the animal will be housed, and verification of all vaccinations and the health of the animal including all the necessary licensing. If documentation is immediately available, the time for the determination process may be shortened. Emotional support animals are not restricted to dogs or cats. However, wild/exotic animals or undomesticated animals that pose a greater risk of attack or transmission of illness may be denied based on individual evaluation.

Documentation of the need for an emotional support/comfort animal shall include a signed letter, on professional letterhead, from an approved medical provider. The provider or therapist shall be familiar with the professional literature concerning the assistive and/or therapeutic benefits of emotional support/comfort animals for people with disabilities. At a minimum, the letter should include the following items:

  • Duration of relationship with medical provider.
  • reatment Plan.
  • The provider’s diagnosis of the person’s condition.
  • A clear description of the current impact and functional limitations resulting from the disability.
  • The provider’s confirmation that the emotional support/comfort animal has been prescribed for treatment purposes and is necessary to help alleviate symptoms associated with the person’s condition.
  • The provider’s description of the service(s) that the animal will provide.
  • All supporting documentation must be current (no older than 6 months).
  • Any additional rationale or statement the University may reasonably need to understand the basis for the professional opinion.
  • Please see the Documentation Requirements Form that must be provided to an approved medical provider for additional information.

The Noel Center for Disability Resources Staff will review documentation, and engage in an interactive dialogue with the student to determine if a qualifying disability exists. The Noel Center Staff will also determine whether an emotional support animal is a reasonable accommodation. Noel Center Staff will notify Housing and Residence Education if it is determined that the animal is a reasonable accommodation. Appropriate Housing and Residence Education Staff will then follow up with the student, and schedule a meeting to review next steps. This policy will be carefully reviewed with the student at the time of the meeting.

The Noel Center for Disability Resources may require updated medical documentation at any time if determined appropriate and/or necessary.

The effect on others in Housing and Residence Education Facilities must be considered, including the potential effect on individuals with allergies to animal hair or dander, as well as the willingness of roommates and floor mates to share their residential community with an animal. Depending on such considerations alternative housing assignments for the Student may need to be considered.

If approved, the Student shall be responsible for any and all losses, liability, expenses, claims, costs, suits and damages of every kind (including damage to Housing and Residence Educations Facilities), nature and description arising from any property damage or personal injury caused by an emotional support/comfort animal. The Student will have to sign documentation acknowledging such. Subject to this policy, an approval is typically valid for one academic year (including summer).

The Student is required to maintain accurate and up-to-date vaccination records on file with the Noel Center for Disability Resources.

If approved, the emotional support/comfort animal cannot remain in Housing and Residence Education Facilities when the Student will be leaving Campus for extended periods including but not limited to:  single nights away from campus, weekend trips, campus breaks, and/or campus holidays. Failure to adhere to this stipulation may result in the removal of the animal. The animal cannot be left in the care of other residential students in the residential facilities while the Student is away from Campus.

Care for Emotional Support/Comfort Animals

  • All emotional support/comfort animals brought into Housing and Residence Education Facilities and grounds must be under the control of the Student at all times. Additionally, all emotional support/comfort animals must be crated within the Student’s assigned room when the Student is not in the room with the animal. Campus Services, including but not limited to Housing and Residence Education Staff, Student Development Staff, and University Plant Operations Staff will be aware of any rooms that contain an emotional support/comfort animal. Plant Operations Staff will have the right to refrain from processing work orders without the resident present in an effort to ensure the safety of University Personnel.
  • The Student is responsible for immediately and appropriately disposing of fecal matter and/or other animal waste deposited in Housing and Residence Education Facilities and/or University Grounds by an approved Emotional Support/Comfort Animal. The burden is on the student owner/handler to arrange for removal of animal fecal matter and/or other waste if he or she is personally unable to perform the task. Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in outside trash receptacles. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto flooring surfaces.
  • The Student is responsible for the animal’s well-being including, but not limited to: regular feeding, watering, bathing, grooming, daily care and veterinary services.
  • In accordance with local ordinances and regulations the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs and cats must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag, with supporting documentation submitted annually.
  • Gardner-Webb University may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animals depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.

Responsibilities to Housing and Residence Education Facilities

  • The Student is responsible for assuring that the emotional support/comfort animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residential facility or cause undue inconvenience for students who reside there.
  • The Student is financially responsible for the actions of the emotional support/comfort animal including bodily injury or property damage. The student’s responsibility includes but is not limited to: replacement of furniture, carpet, window, wall covering, and the like. The student/owner handler is expected to cover these costs at the time of repair and/or housing check-out.
  • The Student is responsible for making sure that the emotional support/comfort animal does not disrupt the residential community or the roommate/suitemates living situation.
  • The Student must properly secure the emotional support/comfort animal in a crate/cage when they are away from their room for class, meals, and campus activities.
  • The Student is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to Housing and Residence Education Facilities that are assessed after the Student and animal vacate the residence. Housing and Residence Education shall have the right to bill the Student’s student account for unmet obligations.
  • The Student’s residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks, and other pests once per semester, or as determined necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all residents and the emotional support/comfort animal. All inspections will be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. If fleas, ticks, or other pests are detected through inspection, the impacted and surrounding units will be treated using an approved treatment method by a University-approved pest control services. The Student will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in residential facilities.
  • Should the emotional support/comfort animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Student is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations within the parameters of the housing agreement and the Gardner-Webb University Student Handbook.

Disciplinary Action Appeals involving Emotional Support Animals

  • Procedures identified in the Gardner-Webb University Student Handbook will be used to review appeals submitted concerning disciplinary action taken associated with their emotional support animal.
  • Please refer to the appeals process in the Gardner-Webb University Student Handbook to review appeal procedures.

Policy Modifications/Addendums

Gardner-Webb University reserves the right to update/revise/modify this policy at any time without prior notice to students.

Procedure

  • Request an Emotional Support Animal through the AIM portal.
  • If determined eligible by the Noel Center, the student must meet with the Director of Housing and Residence Education.
  • No Emotional Support Animal may be brought to campus until after final approval by the Director of Housing and Residence Education.