6.12 Residents Requesting Special Needs Accommodations

Residents with disabilities may need special accommodations to have full and integrated access to on-campus housing. Housing and dining accommodations must be reasonable and relate to the residents' disability and address their functional limitations. The Center for Educational Access (CEA), University Housing, and Dining Services work closely together to ensure accommodation needs are appropriately implemented for residents with disabilities living on-campus. 

To start a request for housing and/or dining accommodations, contact the Center for Educational Access . 

Important Definitions 

Service and Emotional Support Animals 

University Housing provides reasonable accommodations to students living on-campus with a documented disability. The approval process requires both Center for Educational Access (CEA) and University Housing approval prior to the animal moving into student’s assigned accommodation. 

The student will be asked to supply documentation to CEA verifying: 

  • They have a disability, 
  • The animal is necessary to afford the student with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. 
  • There is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the emotional support animal. 

After CEA approves the student request, they will contact University Housing. 

Emotional Support Animal (ESA) 

Any animal specifically designated by a qualified medical provider to provide emotion support, therapeutic benefit, or comfort to an individual with a disability to alleviate one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability, provided there is a nexus between the disability and the assistance of the Emotional Support Animal provides. However, because Emotional Support Animals are not individually trained to perform specific work or tasks, they are not Service Animals. Emotional Support Animals may also be referred to as assistance, therapeutic or companion animals. Absent extraordinary circumstances, only one animal will be approved per student. 

  • Service Animal: For purposes of this policy, a Service Animal is a dog that is individually trained to perform specific tasks for an individual with a disability. 
  1. Under the U.S. Department of Justice’s regulations implementing Title III of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, “service animal” is defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. The work or tasks performed by a Service Animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. In certain circumstances, a miniature horse may be considered a Service Animal. 
  1. Under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s regulations implementing the transportation and related provisions of Titles II and III of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, “service animal” is defined as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” 49 C.F.R. § 37.3. 
  1. Police dogs are also considered Service Animals, as well as other animals that work for emergency personnel. 
  • Assistance Animal: The federal Fair Housing Act uses the term “assistance animal,” which includes both trained or untrained animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide therapeutic emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. FHEO-2013-01. Under the federal Fair Housing Act, an individual with a disability may have the right to have an assistance animal in their home (including University residence hall) if the animal qualifies as a reasonable accommodation that is necessary to afford the individual equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, assuming that the animal does not pose a direct threat. 
  • Service Animal in Training: A dog that is being trained as a Service Animal, in accordance with state law. 

See Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 718.0 Animals on Campus for more information. 

University Housing may exclude a service or emotional support animal from housing if it 1) poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, 2) would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others, 3) would pose an undue financial and administrative burden, or 4) results in a fundamental alteration of the University’s program(s). 

The following tasks will include the process for approval under this policy: 

Applicant must meet with the CEA to review any pertinent campus-wide policies that may relate to the animal. 

Review and sign a Service and Emotional Support Information form and acknowledge University Housing's expectations for residents with service or emotional support animals. 

These forms will be available on the Housing Portal. Students must complete the online forms and upload all requested records and documentation for the assistance animals into the Housing Portal.

The resident must provide evidence that the animal is in good health and has been vaccinated against diseases common to that breed of animal as recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary records attesting to that fact must be sent and approved by University Housing prior to the animal taking residence. To follow the Fayetteville city ordinance, all dogs and cats must be microchipped. 

All requirements must be completed prior to the animal living in the assigned student room. 

Conflicting Conditions  

Students with a medical condition(s) affected by the animal’s presence (e.g., respiratory, diseases, asthma, and severe allergies) should contact the CEA to address any health or safety-related concerns associated with their exposure to the animal. 


Updated August 2022 

Return to the Handbook Table of Contents