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.
Gardner-Webb University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities who require the assistance of service animals.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Gardner-Webb University reserves the right to update/revise/modify this policy at any time without prior notice to students.