In accordance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Access and Disability Services (ADS) at Haverford College engages in an interactive and collaborative process with students in order to determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations, including the use of emotional support animals.
An emotional support animal is defined as an animal that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. The support offered by the animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. An emotional support animal is considered a housing accommodation under the Fair Housing Act and as such must remain in the student’s room and is not allowed in any other room or area of the residence hall except when it is being transported outside. The support animal is not permitted in other college buildings (e.g. classrooms, labs, other dormitory buildings, libraries, student centers).
An emotional support animal is not a pet. A pet is defined as an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship.
Haverford College Residential Life handbook states that small fish, small birds, and small reptiles are allowed, but students are prohibited from having any fur-bearing animals in the residence halls.
Emotional support animals are not service animals, which are defined in and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Emotional support animals are not required to have specific training, but must be in the full control of their owner at all times, not pose a direct threat to health or safety of others, and not damage the property of others, including the college’s.
Requesting Emotional Support Animals in College Housing
Emotional support animals may not be brought into college housing without written approval from ADS and the Office of Residential Life. Under the FHA, a person may keep an emotional support animal in his/her residence hall as a reasonable accommodation if:
- The individual has a disability that is currently documented
- The animal is necessary to afford the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy campus housing and
- There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the support the animal provides.
Approval of an emotional support animal is determined on a case-by-case basis. Students must reapply each academic year to have an emotional support animal in college housing.
- The student must meet with the Director of Access and Disability Services to discuss the student’s request to have an emotional support animal in college housing.
- The student should submit an "Application to Have an Emotional Support Animal in College Housing" (obtained from ADS), and current documentation of a disability to the Director of Access and Disability Services. Documentation must be from a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional who is not a family member, and be on official letterhead. Documentation of the need for an emotional support animal must include the following:
- Verification of a disability that substantially limits a major life activity and a description of the impact of the condition on a major life activity.
- A description of why the animal is necessary for the student to use or enjoy college housing.
- A description of an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the support the animal provides.
- The Director of Access and Disability Services and the Director of Residential Life will review the student’s request.
If the request is approved:
- The Director of Residential Life will meet with the student to discuss housing options and review the student’s responsibilities pertaining to having an emotional support animal living in campus housing.
- The student must submit the following documents to Director of Access and Disability Services, who will share them with relevant college staff:
- Emotional Support Animal Agreement Form
- Emotional Support Animal Registration Form
- A veterinarian’s verification that the animal has all veterinary recommended vaccinations to maintain the animal’s health and prevent contagious disease, as required by local ordinances and regulations.
- Pennsylvania dog license (if ESA is a dog)
- A photo of the animal
- An emergency plan if the student cannot care for the ESA due to a medical emergency. Students cannot have another student care for their ESA.
- The Office of Residential Life will discuss with the student before notifying their room/suitemate(s) of the approval of a support animal in their shared campus housing. A wider residence hall community may be notified as consistent with the dorm’s structure. No information regarding the nature of the disability or reason for the need for an animal will be given.
Notified students will be invited to inform ADS any medical issues (e.g., asthma or severe allergies), fears, or other concerns related to the animal. Should there be conflicting considerations between the student approved for an emotional support animal and the needs of room/suitemate(s), either student may be moved to a different location, based on space availability. Residential Life will respond in a timely manner and will carefully consider options for all involved students based on the availability of appropriate housing as well as other factors.
The student’s room/suitemate(s) must formally state their agreement to have a specific emotional support animal housed in their living environment in writing by submitting the “Roommate Agreement Form” available from ADS.
Relevant campus staff will be notified of the presence of an emotional support animal, including but not limited to Campus Safety, Facilities, Housekeeping, and the Dean of the College, who will notify others as necessary. No information regarding the nature of the disability or reason for the need for an animal will be given.
If the request is denied:
The student may appeal the decision to the Dean of the College.
Responsibilities of Students Approved for Emotional Support Animals
- Assumes full responsibility for the care and supervision of the emotional support animal. Haverford College will assume no responsibility for the care of the animal.
- Is required to maintain full control of the animal at all times. The animal shall have a harness, leash, other tether, or cage unless either the individual is unable to because of a disability that limits their use of such an item, or if such an item would interfere with the animal’s safe, effective performance of support. In such circumstances, the animal must be otherwise under the individual’s full control (e.g. voice control, signals, or other effective means).
- Will keep the support animal only in their own room and will not allow it to be in any other room or area of the residence hall except when it is being transported outside. The student understands that the support animal is not permitted in other college buildings (e.g. classrooms, labs, other dormitory buildings, libraries, student centers) and will abide by this.
- Is responsible for ensuring that the emotional support animal does not interfere with routine activities of the residents or creates unreasonable disruptions to the residential or college community
- Will not ask another student living on campus to care or accept responsibility for the support animal. The support animal must be taken with the student when leaving the campus, including overnight, on weekends, and over breaks. If the student intends to apply for the commercially rented apartments at the college over the summer break they must communicate this to ADS in a timely manner so arrangements can be made with the Summer Programs Office.
- Is responsible for ensuring the immediate and proper cleanup of the support animal’s waste and, when appropriate, must toilet the animal in designated areas. Animals are not permitted on athletic fields or tennis courts. Solid waste – including litter – must be placed in sturdy, securely tied bags before being disposed of immediately in outside trash containers, not dorm trashcans.
- Understands that the Office of Access and Disabilities Services and the Office of Residential Life may place additional conditions or restrictions on approved support animals, depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.
- Understands that local ordinances regarding animals apply to emotional support animals, including those regarding immunization, licensing, noise, restraint, at-large animals, dangerous animals, and animal abuse.
- Understands that animals housed in campus housing must have a clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian and copies of such must be submitted.
- Understands that the support animal, if a dog, must wear a license tag and a current rabies vaccination tag.
- Is aware that if another member of the community suspects the animal is being abused in any way, the individual may contact the local police in order to enforce local animal protection ordinances.
- Assumes all responsibility for any costs associated with the actions of the emotional support animal, including bodily injury, property damage, pest control and/or non-standard cleaning, must be met by the student. The college reserves the right to bill the student’s account for charges related to an emotional support animal.
- Understands that their college housing may be inspected by Facilities Management or their contracted pest control company for fleas, ticks, or other pests once per semester or as needed.
- Understands that removal of the animal from the college may be required if there are any violations of student responsibilities, including if the animal is out of control, poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, causes substantial physical damage to the property of others, poses an undue financial and administrative burden to the College, or other situations arise that negatively impact the residence hall or campus environment.
- Must request approval for an emotional support animal accommodation in a timely fashion, and when possible, in accordance with stated Mid-Year or Spring Room Draw accommodation request deadlines.
- Is required to reapply each academic year to have an emotional support animal.
- Is required to reapply for an emotional support animal accommodation if the student wishes to change support animals.
- Will inform Access and Disability Services and the Office of Residential Life if the emotional support animal is no longer living with the student in their college housing or if the support animal is no longer needed.
- Agrees to abide by all other residential and college policies as this accommodation, which is an exception to a policy that otherwise would prohibit having an animal living in college housing, does not constitute an exception for any other policy.