REG - 40.01.5 Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals on Campus Regulation

Authority:
Chancellor
Responsible Office:
Student Accessibility Services
Contact:
Student Accessibility Services, 919-530-6325, sas@nccu.edu
History:
Effective Date: March 28, 2019

 

1.  Purpose

North Carolina Central University (“NCCU” or “University”) is committed to accessibility and recognizes the importance of service and emotional support animals (ESAs) to individuals with disabilities. NCCU has established the following regulation regarding service animals, service animals in training, and ESAs, to assist members of the NCCU community with disabilities. The purpose of this regulation is to provide specific guidelines and protocols associated with service animals, ESAs, and pets on campus.  

2.  Scope

This regulation applies to all NCCU students, faculty, staff, as well as any visitors on the NCCU campus.

3.  Definitions

3.1  “Disability” is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

3.2  “Service Animal” means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks or a specific service for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button. In some circumstances, a miniature horse may qualify as a service animal. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's impairment.

3.3  “Emotional Support Animal” (ESA) is any animal that (1) alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability; (2) is necessary because of an individual’s disability to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing; and (3) its presence in University housing is reasonable. An ESA is not a service animal under this regulation or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ESAs may also be referred to as “Comfort Animals.”

3.4  “Pet” is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a service animal or ESA. Pets are not covered by this regulation and are not permitted on campus. Residents are not permitted to keep pets on university property or in university housing.

3.5  “Owner/Handler” is a person with a service animal or ESA who is responsible for the animal as detailed in this regulation.

3.6  “Reasonable Accommodations” are appropriate adjustments to programs, policy, and practice that make aspects of the University experience accessible and provide equal opportunities to members of the University community with disabilities. An equal opportunity means a chance to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to a similarly situated student without disabilities.

3.7  “Documentation from a Reliable Third Party” pertains to the medical diagnosis by a reliable third party required by the Office of Student Accessibility Services to determine reasonable accommodations. A Reliable Third Party is a person who is (1) familiar with a student’s disability, (2) familiar with the necessity for a specifically requested ESA in University housing, AND (3) qualified to make medical verifications regarding a student’s disability and requested accommodation. Such person may include a physician, psychiatrist, or other medical or mental health professional.

3.8   “University Housing” is owned or leased by North Carolina Central University and considered a part of the Department of Residential Life’s student housing inventory.

4.  Service Animals

4.1  Employee requests for service animals as a reasonable accommodation in the workplace are processed through the Office of Human Resources, Director of Employee Relations and Affirmative Action Officer. Student requests for service animals as a reasonable accommodation on campus are processed through the Office of Student Accessibility Services. 

4.2  Service animals generally shall be permitted to accompany their owner/handler on campus. When not readily apparent that a dog or miniature horse is a service animal, the University may ask: (1) if the animal is required because of a disability; and (2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. It is unlawful under North Carolina law to disguise an animal as a service animal or service animal in training.

4.3  Requirements

4.3.1  A service animal must remain under the control of its owner/handler at all times while on University property and shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the owner/handler’s disability prohibits the use of which, or the use of which would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks. Nevertheless, the service animal must remain under its owner/handler’s control by other effective means, such as voice control or signals.

4.3.2  Service animals are required to have current rabies vaccines and wear rabies vaccination tags.

4.4   Exceptions

4.4.1  Although this regulation is intended to provide broad access to service animals to accompany their owners/handlers on campus, the University may ask an owner/handler to remove a service animal from University premises, and the owner/handler must abide, if the service animal presents legitimate health and safety concerns. Such health and safety concerns include:

4.4.1.1 The service animal is out of control and its owner/handler does not take effective action to control it;

4.4.1.2 The service animal is not housebroken; or

4.4.1.3 The service animal does not have current vaccinations or does not wear a rabies vaccination tag.

4.4.2   Following removal of the service animal, the owner/handler must ensure its care and supervision even if the owner/handler chooses to remain on the premises. The service animal may not be left alone and the University will not be responsible for the animal’s care.

4.4.3   The University may exclude a service animal from accompanying its owner/handler to certain areas of campus where their admission would fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program or threaten the safety of the owner/handler and/or service animal, such as non-communal food preparation areas, mechanical rooms, and hazardous laboratories. Generally, the identification of prohibited areas will require a case-by-case analysis in consultation relevant campus offices and departments, including but not limited to Office of Legal Affairs, Student Accessibility Services, the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Residential Life, and/or the Facilities Management Department.

4.5   Service Animals in Training

4.5.1   In accordance with North Carolina law, an animal in training to become a service animal shall be permitted to accompany its trainer on University property if:

4.5.1.1  The animal is accompanying a trainer for the purpose of training to become a service animal;

4.5.1.2  The animal’s presence is for the specific purpose of training to become a service animal; and

4.5.1.3  The animal wears a collar and leash, harness, or cape that identifies the animal as a service animal in training.

4.5.2   The trainer shall be liable for any damage caused by the animal while on campus.

4.6   Campus Housing

4.6.1   Any student, including an owner/handler of a service animal, is required to follow the housing selection process through the Department of Residential Life to receive an assignment to university housing. The student, including an owner/handler of a service animal, must provide documentation to the Office of Student Accessibility Services to confirm the need for a service animal.      

4.6.2    An owner/handler must notify the Office of Student Accessibility Services at least sixty (60) days prior to move-in of their intention to be accompanied by a service animal.

4.6.3    An owner/handler will be held responsible for the cost of repairs for damage beyond reasonable wear and tear caused by the service animal in accordance with the standard damages charges as determined by the Department of Residential Life.

4.6.4    An owner/handler must not leave their service animal in campus housing unattended or in the care of another individual when the owner/handler is not present.

4.6.5    If the owner/handler is living with other students, notification regarding the presence of an animal will be provided to those students as well as instructions on etiquette and treatment of the animal. The student must provide written consent for the University to disclose certain information regarding the presence of a service animal to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal, such staff in the Department of Residential Life and potential and/or actual roommate(s) and neighbors. The information disclosed will be limited to information about the animal and will not include information about the student’s disability.

5.   Emotional Support Animals

5.1   Requests for an Emotional Support Animal as a reasonable accommodation by employees who reside in on-campus housing are processed through the Office of Human Resources, Director of Employee Relations and Affirmative Action Officer. Students who request to bring an ESA to reside in campus housing as a reasonable accommodation must register with the Office of Student Accessibility Services. 

5.2   Qualified students with disabilities who reside in on-campus housing may be permitted to live with an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation. Any student seeking such an accommodation must follow the prescribed request process (see Section 5.3 below) and receive approval prior to bringing the animal to campus. Any student, including an owner/handler of an ESA, also is required to follow the housing selection process through the Department of Residential Life to receive an assignment to university housing. The owner/handler must notify the Office of Student Accessibility Services at least sixty (60) days prior to move-in of their intention to be accompanied by an ESA.            

5.3   Student Request Process

5.3.1   Students seeking approval to bring an Emotional Support Animal to reside in campus housing as a reasonable accommodation must:

5.3.1.1  Submit a request for accommodations, designated by the Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS), through Eagle Accommodate. The student should select “Other” and type in the request for an ESA.

5.3.1.2  Students will also need to provide documentation from a Reliable Third Party of the following:

5.3.1.2.1   the student’s disability;

5.3.1.2.2   the animal being requested; and

5.3.1.2.3   how the animal alleviates one or more symptoms of the student’s disability.

5.3.1.3  Provide documentation of animal type and size and current vaccination records.

5.3.1.4  Make an appointment with a representative of SAS to review procedures and expectations for ESAs residing in campus housing.

5.3.2    Completed requests for an ESA to live in University housing should be submitted to SAS at least sixty (60) days prior to the upcoming semester’s move-in date, and in all cases, must be submitted prior to bringing the animal to campus. Submission of a request after the semester move-in date may delay the University’s decision. Requests will not be considered until the student has submitted the request through Eagle Accommodate and submitted appropriate documentation to SAS.

5.3.3    The student must provide written consent for the University to disclose certain information regarding the request for the ESA to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal, such staff in the Department of Residential Life and potential and/or actual roommate(s) and neighbors. The information disclosed will be limited to information about the animal and will not include information about the student’s disability.

5.4    University’s Reasonableness Determination

5.4.1   Upon SAS’s receipt of a completed request, the SAS will conduct an individualized assessment of the requested animal, which may involve additional conversations with the student and/or a Reliable Third Party. The University may deny the request if the ESA is determined to be unnecessary or unreasonable.

5.4.2   A request for an ESA is unnecessary if a reasonable, less burdensome alternative accommodation exists or the requested animal does not meet the definition of an ESA.

5.4.3   A request for an ESA is unreasonable if it:

5.4.3.1  imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden on the University;

5.4.3.2  fundamentally alters University housing policies;

5.4.3.3  poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or would cause substantial property damage to the property of the University or others; and/or

5.4.3.4  is otherwise unreasonable to the operation of the University.

5.4.4    The University generally does not approve wild, feral or exotic animals that pose a greater risk of attack or disease to the University community.

5.4.5    In determining whether a requested animal represents a reasonable accommodation, SAS will consider a number of factors specific to the requested animal, including, but not limited to:

5.4.5.1  the animal’s size and disposition;

5.4.5.2  whether the animal is housebroken;

5.4.5.3  whether the animal’s vaccinations are up-to-date; and

5.4.5.4  if available, the animal’s past behavior in University housing.

5.5    Areas of Access

5.5.1   Approved ESAs are only permitted in the owner/handler’s bedroom and along the logical path for room/building exit, except for:

5.5.1.1  building entrance and egress; and

5.5.1.2  designated outdoor areas for natural relief.

5.5.2    An owner/handler will be held responsible for the cost of repairs for damage caused by his/her ESA in accordance with the standard charges for damages as determined by the Department of Residential Life.

5.5.3    ESAs shall not be permitted in University buildings other than the owner/handler’s living space and suite common areas, unless the animal also qualifies as a service animal.

5.6    Requirements

5.6.1   In accordance with North Carolina law, all dogs, cats, and ferrets on campus are required to have current rabies vaccines and wear rabies vaccination tags.

5.6.2   The owner/handler of the ESA must follow the responsibilities as outlined in Section 7.

5.6.3   The University’s approval, if granted, of an ESA is animal-specific and is only effective for the current term of the student’s housing agreement. A student must follow the request process in this regulation when requesting a new or different animal, or when requesting the use of an ESA beyond the current term of the student’s housing agreement.

6.   Pets

6.1   Pets are prohibited from entering all University buildings, including residence facilities, outdoor athletic or recreational facilities/fields, and other public gatherings where pets have been specifically prohibited. This prohibition applies equally to pets accompanying students, staff, faculty, and visitors.

6.2   Pets shall not be permitted in University housing and requests for such shall not be considered. Students who keep pets in University housing in violation of this regulation shall be responsible for any incurred costs related to the cleaning or repair of University housing and may be removed from University housing.

7.   Responsibilities of Owners/Handlers

7.1   Owners/handlers must meet all applicable requirements of this regulation. This obligation is on-going and a later failure to meet all requirements may result in removal or exclusion of the service animal or ESA.  

7.2   The owner/handler is responsible for the safety, health, behavior, and actions of the approved animal at all times. NCCU will not assume the care of any animal on campus, even during emergencies. Where an owner/handler fails to care for, control, or attend to his/her animal, NCCU will arrange with appropriate authorities to remove the animal from its owner/handler’s custody according to applicable laws and regulations. Any suspected or observed indications of animal abuse or neglect should be reported to University Police at (919) 530-6106 and may subject the owner/handler to disciplinary action.

7.3   Control and Behavior.

7.3.1   In addition to applicable obligations contained elsewhere in this regulation, an owner/handler must ensure the following control and behavior requirements are met:

7.3.1.1  The animal must not obstruct or disturb any space or activity of an academic program, including but not limited to, residence halls, classrooms and labs, other campus buildings or recreational areas, roads, walkways and passages on any part of campus, legitimate campus activities and any other university programs, spaces or activities.

7.3.1.2  The animal must not engage in other behaviors or noises that are unreasonably disruptive to others in the specific environment, including, but not limited to, excessive barking, whining, growling, excessive grooming, and sniffing people, personal belongings of others, and/or tables and eating areas. Generally, a determination that an animal is unreasonably disruptive to others will require a case-by-case analysis in consultation relevant campus offices and departments, including but not limited to the Office of Legal Affairs, Student Accessibility Services, the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Residential Life, and/or the Facilities Management Department.

7.3.1.3  The owner/handler must always carry equipment and bags sufficient to clean up the animal's waste and must properly clean impacted areas and dispose of such waste. Owners/handlers who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of waste are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance. NCCU is not responsible for these services. All dogs must be “house broken” and cats must be trained to use a litter box. Other smaller animals must be caged.

7.3.1.4  The animal must be under the control of the handler at all times, and with the exception of certain service animals, must be restrained at all times in a crate or by a leash or similar device not to exceed six feet in length when in public spaces.

7.3.1.5  The animal may not be left unattended overnight in residential housing to be cared for by another student or staff member. Animals must be taken with the owner/handler if he or she leaves campus for a prolonged period.

7.3.1.6  When an animal is left unattended in an owner/handler’s room, the animal must be stored in a crate, carrier, or kennel.

8.   Responsibilities and Etiquette of University Community

8.1   Members of the University community shall:

8.1.1   allow a service animal to accompany its owner/handler at all times and everywhere on campus except where stated or posted;

8.1.2   not touch or feed a service animal or ESA unless invited to do so;

8.1.3   not provoke, injure, intentionally startle, or attempt to separate a service animal or ESA from its owner/handler (violators may be asked to leave the premises);

8.1.4   not ask about nature or extent of a person’s disability who is accompanied by a Service Animal; and

8.1.5   report any suspected or directly observed animal neglect or abuse to University Police.

9.   Violations

9.1   Any student, staff, or faculty member with a prohibited or unapproved animal is subject to discipline under the appropriate procedure. Likewise, any student with a service animal or approved ESA who violates any provision of this regulation is subject to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct. Such discipline may include the restriction or removal of the animal. Any violation of this regulation by a service animal or ESA will be considered a violation by the owner/handler.

9.2   The University may ask an owner/handler to remove a service animal or ESA for violations of this regulation without initiating a disciplinary proceeding.

9.3   The University may remove from campus property any animals that are prohibited, unapproved, or otherwise in violation of University policies, regulations or rules.

9.4   It is unlawful to deprive a person with a disability or a person training a service animal of any North Carolina rights or rights granted to general public with respect to being accompanied by a service animal or service animal in training.

10.   Grievances and Appeals

10.1   Any University student who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability or has been denied access or accommodations as related to service animals and ESAs may grieve or appeal following the Student Accessibility Services Grievance Policy.

10.2   Any University employee who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability or has been denied access or accommodations as related to service animals and ESAs may grieve or appeal following the Resolution Procedures for Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Regulation.