Linden Hall, Residence Life Office
64 William Street
Worcester, MA 01609
Becker College has established the following policy regarding Service and Support Animals, to assist individuals with disabilities. The scope of this policy is to set forth Becker College’s policy, guidelines and requirements with respect to (a) the admittance and use of Service Animals on its campus, in its facilities including housing, or in other college programs and activities and (b) the keeping of a Support Animal in a College housing.
Being mindful of all health and safety concerns regarding the campus community, Becker College generally limits the presence of privately-owned animals on campus. However, the College will reasonably accommodate persons with disabilities who require the assistance of Service and Support Animals, as appropriate.
It is Becker College’s general policy to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities whenever an individual has a disability and there is a disability-related need for the requested accommodation. For purposes of this policy, an individual with a disability is an individual who provides the College with current and appropriate documentation of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits them in a major life activity, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and, for Support Animals in housing, the Fair Housing Act (FHAct).
The Accommodation Committee is responsible for implementing this policy and for guiding students with disabilities in documenting their specific request for reasonable accommodations. Each request regarding Service and/or Support Animals will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the needs of the individual and the College community. The successful implementation of this policy requires the cooperation of all students, faculty, staff and visitors of the Becker community. Becker College reserves the right to amend this policy as circumstances require.
A Service Animal is not a pet. Service Animals are dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or task the animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the individual's disability, meaning that the dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the individual with a disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. A Service Animal under the ADA does not include a dog whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is the policy of Becker College that Service Animals will be allowed to accompany individuals with disabilities on the College campus, in College facilities, programs, and activities to the same extent as access is granted to non-disabled persons, except as described below or otherwise governed by applicable law. This policy applies to students, employees, and other persons coming on the campus or into the College’s facilities.
Students with Service Animals
We ask that students make themselves known to the College, either by contacting the Office of Student Life or the Disability Services Office should they desire to have a Service Animal accompany them in academic classes, activities, or services on campus.
If a student plans to have their Service Animal live with them in College housing, the student should provide notice to the College especially if requesting any type of accommodation for the Service Animal. Notice to the College is used solely to ensure the appropriate housing placement is made. A student’s notification of the need to have a Service Animal reside in College Housing should be directed to the Office of Residence Life in accordance with the procedures in Section III below and, if possible, submitted at the same time as requests for disability-based housing accommodations are required to be submitted so that the housing assignment process can most effectively assign appropriate housing to accommodate a Service Animal.
2. Support Animals (assistance/emotional support animals)
Policy on Support Animals: Becker College is committed to granting reasonable accommodations to its rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwellings, as required by federal, state and local law. A reasonable accommodation may include a change or exception to a rule or policy that is needed because of a person’s disability (such as a nopet rule), or it may be a physical change to a unit or common area. A disability-related need for a requested accommodation exists when there is an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability.
A Support Animal is not a pet. It is an animal, such as a dog or other common domestic animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks or services for the benefit of an individual with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. A request for a reasonable accommodation to allow a Support Animal to reside in College housing with a student with a disability is reviewed under the provisions and requirements of the Fair Housing Act (FHAct). Support Animals are permitted to reside in College housing only after approval of the requested accommodation that has been submitted, with required documentation, to the Office of Residence Life in accordance with this Policy. Approved Support Animals must remain within a student’s on-campus housing assignment (except to the extent the individual is taking the animal out for natural relief) and are not allowed in academic buildings, cafeterias and/or any other college facilities. Each request for an accommodation to have a Support Animal in College housing is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and requires prior documentation and approval as outlined in this policy.
III. Procedures for Requests for Accommodations for Service and Support Animals in Housing
Incoming students who will be living on campus must submit their request for the accommodation of a Service Animal on campus or for a Support Animal to reside in college housing with their initial housing application by the application deadline. The request form is available on the Residence Life Web-site. Current residents must submit requests by the appropriate fall housing selection deposit date for the following academic year. Spring semester requests are due no later than December 1st. All requests are subject to review and require current documentation as outlined in this policy. While requests may be made after the designated deadline and will be considered, there is no guarantee that the College will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation request. To make a request, students must contact the office of Residence Life and provide appropriate and timely documentation as indicated.
In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a Service Animal, College employees may ask two specific questions:
(1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and
(2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
The College employees are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature or extent of the person's disability. A student who wishes to request accommodations of a disability other than to have a Service or Support Animal in campus housing must submit comprehensive documentation by following Becker College’s guidelines for disability documentation, and including the following additional information:
Requests to house a Support Animal in campus housing must be accompanied by a statement from a reliable professional third party with knowledge of the individual’s disability, dated within the past 6 months, indicating that the individual requesting the accommodation has a disability (if the disability is not obvious) and describing the accommodation and showing the relationship between the disability and the accommodation. This means the documentation must indicate that the Support Animal will serve a function directly related to the individual’s disability, that is, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation for a Support Animal and the individual’s disability. The individual with a disability must demonstrate a disability-related need for the animal, such as service, or assistance, performing tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or providing emotional support that alleviates one or more symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. In most cases, individual medical records are not required.
Becker College, in consultation with the student making the request, and other parties as appropriate, may consider the criteria below in determining whether the presence of the animal is reasonable in the making of housing assignments for individuals with assistance animals:
The individual must provide written consent for Becker College Office of Residence Life to disclose information regarding the request for and presence of the Support Animal to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal including, but not limited to, 83 Residence Life personnel and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s). Such information shall be limited to information related to the animal and shall not include information related to the individual’s disability. Becker College reserves the right to assign an individual with a Support Animal to a single room without a roommate upon availability.
A student who wishes to request an accommodation of a disability other than to have a Service or Support Animal in campus housing must make that request and submit the required documentation in accordance with Becker College’s guidelines for disability accommodations and documentation to
Owners with Service or Support Animals on campus have the responsibility to ensure that the animal acts appropriately at all times while in public. Owners must follow all established College policies (including the Code of Conduct) and adhere to the expected standards of behavior as other members of the College community. Owners are responsible for ensuring the safety of their Service or Support Animal.
The Owner must register the Service Animal (if residing in housing) and Support Animal living in housing with the Assistant Director of Housing/Student Conduct and the Disability Specialist prior to moving into campus housing each year, or when changing rooms during the year.
If a Service or Support animal damages the assigned residence hall room or other College property, the cost of the damage will be assessed and assigned to the student’s account. The owner/handler is responsible for ensuring cleanliness and proper care and treatment of the animal and its environment.
Becker College may prohibit service animals in specific locations due to health and safety restrictions. Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to: food preparation areas, mechanical rooms, custodial closets, labs, rooms with heavy machinery, areas where protective clothing is necessary, areas where there is a danger to the animal, and areas outlined in state law as being inaccessible to animals. Authorized animals may be prohibited from labs if the lab supervisor has reason to believe the animal’s presence would compromise the environment or if the area poses a physical danger for the animal. Support animals are only permitted within the individuals/handlers on-campus housing assignment.
The individual/handler may be directed to remove an animal that is unruly or disruptive to the community (e.g. barking, growling, and jumping on others). If the inappropriate behavior occurs repeatedly, the individual/handler may be prohibited from bringing the animal into any College facility or event until the person can demonstrate that appropriate steps are taken to mitigate the behavior. Any animal that exhibits aggressive or unsafe behavior may be prohibited from Becker College facilities or events. In addition, The College may require the owner to remove the Service or Support Animal from College housing if:
The College will base such individualized determinations upon the consideration of the behavior of the particular animal and resident on a case-by-case basis, and in consultation with Residence Life, the resident, and other parties as appropriate. The College will not base this determination on speculation or fear about the harm or damages an animal may cause. Any removal of the animal may be appealed pursuant to the grievance procedure found here.
Should the Service or Support Animal be removed from the College housing for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
VII. Expectations for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the College Community Regarding Service or Support Animals
The individual/handler of a service or support animal at any College facility or event is expected to maintain the appropriate behavior of the animal as stated:
Community Members (students, staff, faculty, and visitors) are to recognize the working role of a Service or Support Animal and adhere to the following:
VII. Grievance Procedures
If a decision is made to deny a request or remove a service or support animal, the individual/handler may request an appeal of the decision in writing to the Appeals Committee. Appeal requests must state a specific reason for reconsideration, and will be reviewed by Joseph Lomastro, Director of Residence Life and Michael Durant, Asst. Dean of Student Academic Support Services.