Students with a medical need will need to have appropriate medical documentation received and reviewed by the Student Life Office in Martin-Brock Student Center as soon as possible. This allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the request and an opportunity for further documentation should it be deemed necessary. If approved, appropriate accommodations will be made. This approval must be renewed each year. All paperwork must be completed by March 1 for returning students going through Room Draw.
Single-room requests will be considered when accompanied by appropriate medical documentation indicating such an assignment will assist a student in his or her self-management of a disability. Specific documentation criteria applies and letters from professionals who are blood relatives of the student will not be accepted. Decisions regarding single-room accommodation are made on a case-by-case basis. The College reserves the right to make final decisions regarding all single-room requests for accommodation purposes. The College may require additional information for a single-room request iit finds insubstantially supported.
Documentation Supporting Single Room Requests
A letter from a qualified professional (e.g., physician, psychiatrist, psychologist) must describe the date of diagnosis, assessment (labs, etc.), treatment plan, patient response, and prognosis. The Student Life Office may request further medical notes when deemed necessary. In addition, the letter must specifically state why a single room is necessary for the patient's health. Students must provide written release for College officials to discuss medical recommendations with a student's medical professional(s). In all cases, the College expects students to adhere to the treatment recommendations of professionals.
Single-room accommodations are not automatically transferable from one academic year to the next and new medical documentation stating student progress is necessary for each request.
A service animal is defined as any dog that is individually trained to do work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Examples might include providing visual guidance, pulling a wheelchair, assisting during a seizure, alerting to the presence of allergens, retrieving items, and providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities may use service animals in any public area unless doing so would pose a danger to the health or safety of others or cause undue burden. Individuals with disabilities who use a service animal on campus are not required to register with Disability Services, but individuals who wish to have a service animal in student housing must make a formal request for this accommodation with the Director of Housing. Trained dogs are the only species of animal that may qualify as service animals under ADA (there is a separate provision regarding trained miniature horses).
A therapy animal is defined as any animal with a primary role of providing emotional comfort to a person with a disability. These animals are not required to undergo specialized training. Therapy animals are not the same as service animals in that they are not individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. A request to have a therapy animal in campus housing is considered a request for accommodation and will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Please note that this accommodation is for campus housing only and, if granted, does not allow the therapy animal access to any buildings/areas, except campus housing.
Care and Supervision
According to Virginia law, any animal that has reached a proper level of maturity must be licensed and must display a license on its collar at all times.
Animals on campus must have an annual clean bill of health (including vaccinations and immunity shots against rabies and/or other diseases common to the type of animal) that is signed by a licensed veterinarian and a copy must be submitted to the Director of Housing. A valid vaccination tag must be worn by the animal at all times. Owners need to make sure that the animal is kept as clean as possible. Regular bathing/grooming and pest control measures also need to be performed and are the responsibility of the owner.
A request to have a therapy animal in campus housing is considered a request for an accommodation. All such requests should be made at least 30 days in advance and will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Individuals making such requests must establish that they experience a documented disability and that the animal is indeed providing essential therapeutic benefit related to the documented disability. Documentation should be submitted to the Director of Housing and it will be forwarded to the College’s Disability Coordinator.
Any individual who wishes to challenge a decision reached by the College’s Disability Coordinator may appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. Such appeals must be in writing. If this appeal is denied, you may not use the animal for the requested service on campus.
If you have already signed a contract for College housing when a request for use of an animal is denied, you can request to be released from the housing requirement by completing an off campus housing request form and submitting it to the Director of Housing.