Guidelines for Requesting an Emotional Support Animal Accommodation on Campus
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. Unlike a service animal that has access to public places where pets are not typically allowed, an ESA has limited access to places of public accommodation. Under the FHA, an ESA is viewed as a reasonable accommodation in a housing unit that has a no pet policy for its residents. Residence halls are considered as part of the FHA. Therefore, approved ESAs are allowed in residence halls, are restricted from access to all other campus areas, and can only leave the residence hall for nature breaks. ESAs are not allowed in classrooms, other campus buildings or other residence halls, or campus events. ESAs must be under the control of their owner at all times, cannot be left alone overnight, and cannot be cared for by another student.
Students with disabilities who seek to bring an emotional support animal (ESA) to campus must adhere to the guidelines described in this policy. A student who seeks an ESA accommodation may be verified for up to one animal. Students are not permitted to keep emotional support animals in residential buildings without prior verification as a reasonable accommodation through Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Failure to comply with this process will result in a Code of Conduct Violation and may be considered a breach of the Housing Contract.
Definition of Emotional Support Animal
An ESA is an animal that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. ESA’s are not considered service animals under the ADA. These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities.
Request Process / Required Documentation
To request an ESA, a student must complete the following steps:
- The student must apply for services through SAS. To register for SAS services, please log into the portal using your FAU Net ID and password to complete the online Application for Academic Services and click submit a the bottom when completed.
- The Student must upload an ESA Verification Form from a qualified medical care provider (for a list of appropriate medical providers please refer to our ESA brochure) and upload in the online portal when completing the application process.
- The student must also submit an ESA Veterinarian Verification Form that must be completed by the ESA’s veterinarian.
- Once an application and the above mentioned documentation has been submitted the SAS Associate Director will review within 48 business hours (this may vary during peak times).If the documentation is insufficient, SAS will contact you to explain why.
- If the documentation is sufficient you case file will be assigned to an SAS Consultant
- The Student will be called to schedule an appointment for an intake interview with a SAS consultant.
- This interview will give the student an opportunity to meet your SAS consultant. The student will be asked to provide information about their experience of disability, barriers they’ve encountered, as well as effective and ineffective prior accommodations.
- The student’s appropriate accommodations will then be determined based on an interactive process between the student and the SAS consultant. The student will also receive information about other support services available at FAU.
- The Consultant will review the ESA Agreement with the student to explain the rules and expectations in addition to all other University rules. This agreement form must be signed and a copy is given to the student and Housing and Residential Education.
- The SAS Consultant will then send an accommodation letter to Housing and Residential Education for the ESA along with a copy of the ESA Agreement Form and the ESA Veterinarian Verification Form.
- If a student wishes to change to a different ESA than the one approved, the student must submit a new ESA Verification Form and ESA Veterinarian Verification Form for review with additional information from the medical care provider that verifies the medical need for a different animal.
- Remember the ESA’s vaccinations have to be updated within a certain timeframe (as indicated by the Veterinarian) and it is the student’s responsibility to submitted an updated ESA Veterinarian Verification Form within one week of the date of expiration.
- An ESA Veterinarian Verification Form must be submitted to SAS for each contractual year in Housing.
Roommate/Suitemate Notification for the Presence of an ESA
Housing and Residential Education will need to inform a student’s roommate(s), floor, or suitemates of the presence of an ESA and to make necessary housing changes that may be required based on the presence of the ESA.
Concerns and Questions
Student who have questions or concerns about any matter or policy affecting their use of an emotional support animal should contact SAS at 561-297-3880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAU Housing is not required to provide any reasonable accommodation that would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Thus, if the particular animal requested by the individual with a disability has a history of dangerous behavior, FAU does not have to accept the animal into the housing. Moreover, a housing provider is not required to make a reasonable accommodation if the presence of the assistance animal would:
- Result in substantial physical damage to the property of others unless the threat can be eliminated or significantly reduced by a reasonable accommodation
- Pose an undue financial and administrative burden
- Fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations