Title
Emotional Support Animals

GUIDELINES FOR REQUESTING TO USE AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL (ESA) ON CAMPUS

St. Thomas Aquinas College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who seek to bring an emotional support animal (ESA) to campus must adhere to the guidelines described in this policy. Students are not permitted to keep emotional support animals in residential buildings without prior approval as a reasonable accommodation of a disability through Disability Services. 

DEFINITION

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with a disability may be entitled to keep an emotional support animal (ESA) as a reasonable accommodation of a disability in a campus housing facility. An emotional support animal is an animal that is necessary to afford the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use or enjoy an on-campus residence hall when there is an identifiable relationship between the individual’s disability and the assistance that the animal provides. An emotional support animal is prescribed to an individual with a disability by a health care or mental health professional and is an integral part of the individual’s treatment plan. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA (unless the animal is trained to perform specific tasks related to the disability) and are governed by separate policies on the St. Thomas Aquinas College campus. Emotional support animals are only permitted within the individual’s assigned residence in on-campus housing. Emotional support animals are never permitted in other campus buildings such as academic buildings, classrooms, athletic facilities, libraries, dining halls, and other public residence hall spaces, except for the transport in/out of the residence hall.

ACCOMMODATION REQUEST PROCESS

To request approval for an emotional support animal, the student must complete the following steps:


All requests for the accommodation of an ESA are determined on a case-by-case basis. A request for the accommodation of an ESA living on campus is not a guarantee of approval.


OWNER’S RESPONSIBILITIES FOR AN APPROVED EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL (ESA)

If St. Thomas Aquinas College grants an individual’s request to live with an Emotional Support Animal as a reasonable accommodation of a disability, the individual is solely responsible for the custody and care of the animal. The individual must meet the following requirements:

If the Owner has concerns about any matter affecting his/her responsibilities concerning an approved emotional support animal, the Owner must contact Disability Services.


RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COLLEGE COMMUNITY IN RELATION TO ESAs


IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

A student with an approved emotional support animal may be asked to remove the animal from the St. Thomas Aquinas College campus for any of the following reasons:

Students who have been denied the use of an emotional support animal and disagree with the College’s decision have the right to file a grievance. For more information about how to file a grievance, please see our Disability Grievance Policy Page.