Emotional Support Animals

Students are permitted to keep Emotional Support Animals (ESA) in on-campus housing on a case-by case basis as a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability. ESA’s may not travel throughout campus property/buildings without their owners, and must be contained within the student’s designated residence area (or grounds) at all times.

Approval Process

In order to bring an ESA to campus, the student must contact the Director of Residence Life as early as possible to permit time to gather and review all necessary documentation (There is a minimum of 30 days for housing to process the request). Animals that have not yet been approved may not be on campus or in student housing. This process needs to be followed EACH YEAR regardless of previous year approvals.

  • The student will be asked to provide documentation of his/her disability and medical documentation of the need for the ESA, including how the animal is a necessary part of current and ongoing therapy and be drafted by a licensed mental health professional(see letter guidelines).
  • Students will be asked to provide up to date vaccination and health records to the office of housing that have been updated at least 4 months prior to move in.

Each request will be evaluated in consideration of the needs of the individual and the concerns of the College community. The College reserves the right to amend this policy, as circumstances require. The college will prohibit a specific animal that: poses a threat to the health or safety of others; would cause substantial physical damage to property; would pose an undue financial or administrative burden on the College, or would fundamentally alter the nature of campus housing operations.

Letter Guidelines

For a person to legally qualify for an emotional support animal (ESA), he/she must be considered emotionally disabled by a licensed mental health professional (therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.), as evidenced by a properly formatted prescription letter. Typically, a medical doctor does not qualify because they are not a licensed mental health professional. 

The letter should state that:

  • You are currently his/her patient
  • You are under his/her care for the treatment of mental disability found in the DSM IV or V (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 4 or 5).
  • Your disability substantially limits at least one major life activity
  • He/she prescribes for you an emotional support animal as a necessary treatment for your mental health.
  • In addition, the letter must be dated, written on his/her letterhead, include his/her license type, NPI number, date of license, and state in which the license was issued.

Student’s Responsibilities

The owner of an ESA living in campus housing is responsible for the following (once approved):

  • The student must be in full control of the animal at all times.
  • The student must provide adequate care and supervision of the animal at his/her own expense. This includes proper hygiene, cleanup and disposal of waste.
  • Animal waste may not be disposed of in a trash receptacle within any campus building. Waste must be disposed of in outdoor trash bins only. If waste is not disposed of properly, fines may be issued to students.
  • The student must continue providing for the health of the animal, such as vaccinations, annual check-ups, and compliance with any licensing requirements.
  • The student must assure that the animal does not cause undue interference or disruption to other residents.
  • When being transported outside the residence area, the ESA must be placed in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness as well as remove any animal waste from the CCS property.
  • The student will indemnify, hold harmless, defend and be liable for any harm caused by the animal, including bodily injury or property damage. This responsibility includes, but is not limited to, any expenses incurred for pest control, maintenance or cleaning above and beyond standard costs.
  • The student must take the animal with him/her when leaving campus for a prolonged period of time and may not leave the animal in the care of any other resident overnight.
  • The student will provide current vet records at the beginning of each Academic Year.

Conflicting Health Conditions

Housing will notify any roommates and will make a reasonable effort to notify the residents of neighboring units to where the ESA will be located.  Students with a medical condition that may be affected by animals (ex. severe allergies) should contact Housing with any health or safety concerns about exposure to an ESA. Medical documentation of the condition may be requested.  If a student has a serious allergy or has any reason they are unable to live with an ESA in their room, the owner of the ESA may be asked to move rooms.

Removal of Animals from Campus

The College reserves the right to remove or exclude an ESA from campus if:

  • The animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
  • The animal is in poor health or if it is not housebroken.
  • The animal creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference.
  • The student fails to comply with his/her/their responsibilities under this policy.