Annual Process for Requesting an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
Each academic year, you must must complete the following steps to request an ESA accommodation. The accommodation for an ESA is granted for one academic year and must be renewed each year by repeating the request process. Even if granted in the spring, the request process must be repeated for the following fall.
- Review this documentation and verify with the online signature form that you have read, understand, and agree to the campus policies.
- Complete Emotional Support Animal Accommodation Request form.
- Have your licensed health care professional complete and submit the ESA Accommodation Student Verification Form. This form must be dated less than one year from the request and verify that you have a qualifying disability that substantially limits a major life activity and that the professional has been actively treating you within the past year.
- Submit a copy of the animal’s vet records from within the last year, including a photo and a name.
Once the Office of Accommodations has received all of required documentation, the review process will begin to determine if the accommodation is reasonable as it relates to the diagnosis. You may be contacted to verify and/or clarify information about your request.
Information will remain confidential and only be shared with College personnel involved in assisting with the request for an accommodation. In reviewing requests for ESAs, Residential Life and Student Affairs reserve the right to consult with a wide variety of disability (and other relevant) experts in order to make a thoughtful, well-informed decision about granting an exception to the Northland’s Pet Policy. The Office of Accommodations will notify you by email of the decision to accept or decline the request for the accommodation to have an ESA in the residence hall. If the request for the accommodation is approved, the Office of Accommodations will work with Residential Life to determine a suitable location for you and your ESA to reside.
Upon approval, you must:
- Review the terms of the ESA Agreement with the Accommodations Specialist.
- Secure the approval signature of the roommate(s) and/or suite mates to obtain agreement to having an ESA in the living space. If the roommate(s) change during the academic year, new roommates will have the opportunity to agree to the presence of the ESA in the room. If roommate(s) do not agree to the presences of the ESA in the room, the possibility of a room changes for either party will be explored.
Students living within proximity of the room with the ESA will be informed of the presence of the ESA in order to determine if there are any disability-related issues that will be affected by the presence of the animal. If such a circumstance arises, we will attempt to identify possible room changes for either party. An ESA is approved to live with a student in campus housing. The ESA may not be in other buildings on campus.
Northland College will review and evaluate the ESA approval on a yearly basis to determine an on-going disability related need for the ESA. The student must provide updated documentation from his/her medical care provider. Northland College’s prior approval of an ESA does not guarantee subsequent approvals. The student also must notify OAR in writing if s/he no longer needs the ESA, or is no longer living in on-campus housing.
A denied request for an ESA may be appealed, in writing, within 5 business days of the date on the decision letter. Written appeals must be submitted to the dean of students. Appeals must state a specific reason for reconsideration. Appeals may only be based on:
- New information, that was not available at the time of the initial review, to support the animal as an accommodation.
- A procedural error that occurred which unfairly affected the decision.
ESA Policy & Guidelines
Pets are not allowed in College housing. Operating with the parameters created by the Fair Housing Act, exceptions to the pet policy are permissible. The Office of Accommodations will consider requests for ESAs as accommodations in appropriate circumstances. Students should not bring an animal to campus until they have expressly received approval from the the Office of Accommodations. Animals living in campus housing create a unique variable in community living, potentially impacting the entire community in differing ways. As such, care must be taken to ensure the rights of all residents living in the community are protected.
Students who require ESAs should be sensitive to the quality of life for an animal living in a small living space. Approved animals may not create unreasonable disruptions to the residential community at any time. The animal’s behavior must be congruent to reasonable standards of well-behaved animals. Owners are required to clean up after their animals, and will be responsible for any damages caused by the animal. Assistance animals that are a nuisance due to noise, hygiene, or aggressiveness will not be allowed to continue living in the residence halls. Excessive disruption, determined by the residence life staff, is grounds for contractual termination and immediate animal removal.
As defined by the ADA, service animals are animals that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. ESAs are not considered service animals, but provide some therapeutic benefit to persons with mental or psychiatric disability and provide support that mitigates at least one identified symptom of the disability, requiring no specific training.
Service animals are limited to dogs, and, in certain cases, miniature horses. ESAs may include animals other than dogs. Northland College has the right to exclude an ESA that is prohibited by the Health Department, or otherwise appears to be a threat to the health or safety of other students and staff.
ESAs are not allowed in any area of the residence hall other than the student’s room at all times, except when the animal is being transported outside. The transport must include the animal being leashed or in a carrier, and the shortest route outside must be taken. The ESA cannot be taken into classrooms or other buildings on Northland’s campus.
Upon yearly approval from the Office of Accommodations for a student to maintain an ESA, the following requirements must be met. The student will:
- Provide complete documentation of vaccinations recommended and administered by a veterinarian. Prior to moving the animal into a residence hall, proof of vaccination is required. Northland College reserves the right to request updated vaccination records at any time during the animal’s residency.
- Assure the animal does not interfere with traditional activities of the residence or negatively impact the community of students who reside there. Sensitivity to residents fearful of animals or with allergies is necessary to maintain a welcoming and peaceful residential community.
- Obtain and keep current any state or local licenses required for the accommodation animal in compliance with the local jurisdiction (e.g. dog and cat license) requirements. The College reserves the right to request proof of licensing at any time during the animal’s residency.
- Keep the animal properly groomed.
- Be responsible for containing and disposing of all animal waste in appropriate trash dumpsters. Litter boxes should be placed on mats.
- Provide contact information for an alternative caregiver for the animal in case of an emergency.
- Keep the emotional support animal under control at all times.
- Be financially responsible for the actions of the animal, including any property damage or bodily injury. Examples include carpet and furniture replacement, wall repairs or cleaning costs directly associated with having an animal in the room.
- Bring the animal with them if they leave campus overnight. Animals should not be left in the care of a roommate or other student for an extended period.
- Submit written notification if the emotional support animal is no longer residing in the student’s residence or is no longer needed.
- Repeat the full request process, if you are planning to exchange one emotional support animal for another. The agreement is yearly and is for one specific animal.
- Abide by all other policies within Residential Life and the Student Code of Conduct. This exception to Northland’s Pet Policy does not allow for other exceptions to College policy.
- Fulfill the housing agreement for the duration of the housing contract between the student and Northland College even if the emotional support animal is removed from campus housing.
- Waive any claims against Northland College and agree to indemnify Northland and its employees, officers, and agents, in any claim or suits arising from any harm caused by the animal.
Upon yearly approval from from the Office of Accommodations for a student to maintain an ESA, Northland College has the right to:
- Inspect the student residence for fleas, ticks, or other pests as needed. Through inspection, if fleas, ticks, or pests are detected, Northland College Facilities/Maintenance or an outsourced, certified pest control service will fumigate the residence through approved methods. If pest treatment is needed, the student is financially responsible for it. If the problem is ongoing or reoccurring, the student’s housing agreement may be terminated or the emotional support animal removed.
- Assign the student to a specific building and/or room.
- Relocate the student as necessary based on the contractual agreements of residing on campus.
- Not allow specific animals to reside in the residence halls as ESAs. All animals must be approved and a thorough review of traits and tendencies of any proposed animal will be conducted and a final decision will be made by the college prior to allowing move-in of the animal. Noncompliance with the aforementioned rules may result in the immediate removal of the ESA from the residence hall. The Office of Accommodations will notify the student by email of the decision to accept or decline the request for exception in the form of permission to have an ESA in the residence.