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Office of Accessibility Resources and Services

Emotional Support Animal Policy

Policy Statement

It is the policy of High Point University to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA), the Fair Housing Act, and other applicable federal and state regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.  High Point University is aware of its responsibility to provide safe, healthy housing to all students living in University Residence Halls and is committed to providing equal access to University Housing to all students with qualifying disabilities.  In keeping with this obligation, it is the policy of High Point University that emotional support animals are permitted in all housing facilities in accordance with University procedures and policies.

This policy includes the procedures for requesting an emotional support animal and the responsibilities of students who have emotional support animals in University Residence Halls.

Definitions

Emotional Support Animal (ESA). An animal providing emotional or other support to ameliorate one or more identified symptoms or effects of a disability. Emotional Support Animals are not required to be trained to perform work or tasks and can be species other than dogs or miniature horses. ESAs may not be brought into residential communities without prior approval from The Office of Accessibility Services. Each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as outlined in this policy, considering the individual request and the rules of the University Community. ESAs are not subject to the species, breed, and weight restrictions detailed in the University Pet Policy.

Service Animal. A service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to do work, or perform a task(s), “for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability (ADA National Network).”  The service animal must be individually trained in the task(s) that directly relate to the individual’s disability.

OARS may ask the following questions:

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

More information:

  • A service animal can accompany its partner in all areas where the public is normally allowed except for the following areas: anywhere the presence of the dog would cause safety concerns, the dog is not under control, or where having the dog there would fundamentally alter the program.
  • Service vests or identifiers are highly encouraged.
  • Faculty and Staff can require that the dog be removed from the classroom or area if: the presence of the dog would cause safety concerns, the dog is not under control, shows aggression, or the dog is not housebroken.

Documentation Guidelines:

Documentation is required for any type of requested accommodation.  Documentation for housing accommodations or an Emotional Support Animal, must be from a qualified professional.  Qualified professional, for our purposes, is defined as a non-family member whose professional training qualifies them to diagnose and treat the impairments associated with the student’s disability. The student must either be a current patient of the professional who completes the documentation form or have an established history of treatment that is documented.  Each question on the required forms must be completed by the medical professional.  Click here for the medical documentation form. We will not accept notes or letters in lieu of the provided documents.

Approved ESA. Approved Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that has been permitted in designated areas of residential communities as a reasonable accommodation under this policy.

Pet. A pet is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Animal. Individuals are not permitted to keep or bring pets on University property or in University housing without prior approval under the University Pet Policy. For more information on the University Pet Policy, click here.

ESA Owner. The owner is the resident student who has an approved Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in University housing under this policy.

University Housing. Any facility owned or operated by the University for the purpose of housing residential students, whether leased or owned by the University and regardless of location.


Instructions for Requesting an Emotional Support Animal:

  1. Request for Emotional Support Animal form. Students requesting an ESA must complete and submit the Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Form at the OARS Accommodation Requests page.
  2. Request for Emotional Support Animal – Medical Documentation Form. Students requesting an Emotional Support Animal must also submit the Request for Accessible Housing – Medical Documentation Form – completed by their medical professional. Return the completed form to OARS, via FAX: 336‐888-6324 or email: oars@highpoint.edu.  The form can also be uploaded on our Submit Accommodation Support Documentation page.
  3. ESA Health Documentation. Students requesting an ESA in University Housing must provide to the Office of Accessibility Services documentation from a professional veterinarian that the ESA is current on all applicable vaccinations, including flea and tick, and is in good health along with the Request Forms. All ESAs must have an annual well-care visit with a licensed veterinarian. They must have had a general maintenance vaccination series appropriate to the species. All vaccinations must be current, and applicable animals must wear a current rabies vaccination tag. ESA owners must provide satisfactory documentation of this on-going compliance for an ESA.
  4. Rules and Responsibilities Agreement must be signed prior to the student bringing the ESA to campus.
  5. Once the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services receives the required documentation, it will issue a decision regarding the requested ESA. The student requesting the ESA will be notified if the ESA is approved or if the Office of Accessibility Services needs additional information regarding the request.  Decisions regarding ESA’s may take three weeks or more after documentation from a Medical Doctor, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Counselor or Therapist has been received in the DSS Office.  If medical documentation is incomplete or illegible, this may further delay the decision, while OARS Office contacts the medical provider for more information.
  6. Denials of Requests for Emotional Support Animals. The University is not required to provide accommodations that would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.  Thus, if a particular animal requested by a student with a disability has a history of dangerous behavior or an unsafe disposition, the University will deny the request for an emotional support animal.  The University will also deny requests that would: (1) result in substantial physical damage to the property of others unless the threat can be eliminated or significantly reduced by a reasonable accommodation; (2) pose an undue financial and administrative burden on the University; or (3) fundamentally alter the nature of the University’s Student Life operations.  If your request for an emotional support animal is denied, please contact Accessibility Services for further clarification of its decision.

Conflicting Health Conditions and Aversions

Students with a medical condition or aversion who are affected by animals (e.g. allergies, asthma, respiratory conditions, zoophobia, etc.) because of living in close proximity to Emotional Support Animals should contact the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services. Accessibility Services will work with Student Life to reasonably accommodate residents with disabilities who need accommodation when living in close proximity to Emotional Support Animals as may be required by applicable law.