Assistance Animal Policy

Introduction

Harvey Mudd College (“HMC” or “College”) seeks to create a living and learning environment for students that is conducive to development, interaction, and a healthy well-being for all students living in a communal space. The College recognizes the importance of “Service Animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the broader category of “Assistance Animals” under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) that provide physical and/or emotional support to individuals with disabilities.

Policy Statement

HMC permits Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals in on-campus housing as a reasonable accommodation when necessary and reasonable because of a disability to facilitate full-participation and equal access to the College’s programs and activities. HMC is also committed to allowing Service and Emotional Support Animals necessary to provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing. This policy applies to students at HMC and 5C students living in HMC facilities.

Some HMC students with disabilities may be prescribed and/or require the use of a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal. Determination of whether an Emotional Support Animal will be permitted in on-campus housing is made on a case-by-case basis, through an interactive process involving the individual requesting the accommodation and relevant campus personnel. In all cases, the needs of the individual are balanced with the impact of an animal on other campus residents, members of the HMC community and visitors. A student who requires a Service Animal does not require Approval from the College.

HMC will not limit room assignments for individuals with Emotional Support Animals to any particular building or buildings because the individual needs an Emotional Support Animal because of a disability.

Definitions

Assistance Animal

Overarching term that refers to both Service Animals as well as Emotional Support Animals as defined below. Therefore, an Assistance Animal is an animal that either (1) works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability; or (2) provides emotional or other type of support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.

  • Service Animals – Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as a dog, or in some cases a miniature horse, that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the animal must be directly related to the person’s disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals. False representation of a service animal is a violation of California Penal Code 365.7. A student found to have falsely represented a service animal will be in violation of the CMC Student Code of Conduct and will face disciplinary action through the student conduct process and possible removal of the animal from campus.
  • “Psychiatric” Service Dog – Type of Service Animal that is individually trained to help a person with a mental disability with specific requirements. An individual that uses such a dog is entitled to the same rights under the law as someone with a physical disability that uses a Service Animal.
  • Emotional Support Animal – Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s qualified disability. ESAs are not pets and are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); rather, they are animals that have been prescribed to provide necessary support or companionship to a person with a qualifying disability.

Owner

The “Owner” is the individual who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring an Assistance Animal into College housing.

Provisions

Service Animals including Psychiatric Service Dog

Service Animals are generally allowed to accompany their owners anywhere their owners are permitted on campus. Service Animals will be permitted to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of HMC’s facilities, including College housing, where students, members of the public, and other participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go. HMC does not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a Service Animal. Individuals accompanied by a Service Animal on campus but who do not need any disability-related accommodations are not required to register with the Disability Resources or the Division of Student Affairs (DSA), nor is such individual required to submit a request for a reasonable accommodation to receive access of his or her Service Animal.

However, when it is not readily apparent that a dog is a Service Animal, HMC staff may make the following inquiries to determine whether the dog qualifies as a Service Animal:

  • Is the dog required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

A Service Animal must be housebroken (i.e., trained so that it controls its waste elimination, absent illness or accident) and must be kept under control by a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the person is unable to hold those, or such use would interfere with the Service Animal’s performance of work or tasks. In such instances, the Service Animal must be kept under control by voice, signals, or other effective means.

HMC will assess requests for the use of miniature horses by people with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Requests should be submitted to the Student Accommodation Advisor and, consistent with applicable laws, HMC may make modifications in its policies to permit their use if they meet certain criteria and have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of people with disabilities.

Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are generally not allowed to accompany persons with disabilities in public areas of HMC as a Service Animal is allowed to do, but an Emotional Support Animal may reside in College housing, including accompanying such individuals in all public or common use areas of College housing, when it may be necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing.

Before an Emotional Support Animal can move into College housing with a person with a disability, a request must be submitted to Disability Resources and approval must be granted (preferably at least 30 days prior to move-in). If the disability is not obvious, Disability Resources may require documentation from a licensed physician or mental health provider, including without limitation a qualified psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional, to provide sufficient information for HMC to determine:

  • that the individual qualifies as a person with a disability (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities); and
  • that the Emotional Support Animal may be necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy College housing (i.e., that the animal would provide emotional support or other assistance that would ameliorate one or more symptoms or effects of the disability).

As with Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals must be housebroken (i.e., trained so that it controls its waste elimination, absent illness or accident) and must be kept under control by a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the person is unable to hold those, or such use would interfere with the animal’s performance of work or tasks. In such instances, the Emotional Support Animal must be kept under control by voice, signals, or other effective means.

Limitations

The College may exclude or remove an Assistance Animal if the animal is not housebroken; would pose a direct threat to the health, safety, or property of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by a reasonable accommodation; is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control it; would fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity; or is not being cared for the by the individual.

Process for requesting An Emotional Support Animal in College Housing

The process for requesting an Emotional Support Animal follows the general procedures set forth by Disability Resources. A student is not permitted to live with an ESA on campus until receiving approval by the Disability Resources. Contact Disability Resources for additional information: www.hmc.edu/ability. Students with Support Animals are not required to register with the College.

Conflicting Health Conditions and Aversions

HMC is committed to ensuring that the needs of all people with disabilities are met and will determine how to resolve any conflicts or problems as expeditiously as possible.

If a student has a disabling condition that involves an allergic reaction to animals, the student should notify Disability Resources regarding a reasonable accommodation to HMC housing and ESA and/or Service Animals. Reasonable action will be taken to consider the needs of both residents to resolve the conflict as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Without an accommodation for a conflicting disability (e.g., animal allergens), housing reassignment will be done according to standard department procedure.

Owners who have concerns about any matter affecting their use of a Service or Emotional Support Animal should contact Disability Resources.

Disclosures

HMC may, at its discretion, post notices that an animal is living in a student residence or on a particular hall in order to alert visitors who might be negatively affected by contact with an animal and staff or emergency personnel who might encounter the animal. Students are free to post notice of the presence of an animal on the door to their room in order to specifically identify an animal’s presence in the room, provided the notices comply with residence hall policies.

Owner’s Responsibilities

The College is not responsible for the care or supervision of assistance animals. Owners are responsible for their Assistance Animal at all times including the cost, care, and supervision of their animal. Owners may be required to sign the ‘Owner Responsibilities for Approved Animals on Campus’ outlining Owner’s responsibilities. Contact Housing and Residential Life for additional information.

Additionally, Owners with an approved Emotional Support Animal are required annually to provide documentation that their animal complies with all local laws pertaining to animal licensing & registration, vaccinations, and owner identification. A vaccination certificate or letter indicating an up-to-date rabies vaccination from your veterinary health provider will be required. See the Claremont Municipal Code for current local laws.

Removal of Approved Animal

An Owner may be required to remove their Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal if there is a violation of College policy. The College will base such determinations upon the consideration of the behavior of the particular animal at issue, and not on speculation or fear about the harm or damages an animal may cause. Any removal of the animal will be done in consultation with Disability Resources and may be appealed to the Dean of the Faculty who will review requests in conjunction with the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. The Owner will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process. To replace an ESA, the new animal must be necessary because of the Owner’s disability and the Owner must follow the procedures in this Policy when requesting a different animal.

Should the Emotional Support Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

Resources and Related Policies for Animal Owners

Guidelines for Members of the HMC Community

To ensure equal access and non-discrimination of people with disabilities, members of the HMC community must abide by the following practices:

  • Allow Service Animals to accompany people with disabilities on campus
  • Allow Emotional Support Animals to accompany people with disabilities to the residential facility which the Owner has been assigned;
  • Do not ask for details about a person’s disabilities;
  • Do not pet an Assistance Animal, as it may distract the animal from its work;
  • Do not feed an Assistance Animal;
  • Do not deliberately startle, tease, or taunt an Assistance Animal; and
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate an Owner from his/her Assistance Animal.