Kenyon College is committed to supporting students with disabilities by allowing emotional support animals (ESAs) when an ESA is necessary for them to be able to use and enjoy their residential living space. The Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Policy applies to all students and explains the specific steps necessary to request an emotional support animal at Kenyon College.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The three factors influencing a determination of substantial limitation are 1) the nature and severity of the impairment, 2) the duration or expected duration of the impairment and 3) whether the impairment is characterized as permanent or long-term.
In order to be eligible for an ESA, students or guests must be in residence a minimum of 22 consecutive nights.
An ESA is an animal selected to play an integral part of a student’s treatment process, providing emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a student’s disability. An ESA does not perform work or tasks that would qualify them as service animals, as defined by the ADA. Emotional support animals are not considered pets. To preserve student health and safety, pets are prohibited in all College residences, with the sole exception of fish in bowls or tanks that do not exceed 10 gallons. Having an ESA is considered an exemption to the College’s Pet Policy and is an approved animal. As such, the College requires that students with disabilities who require an ESA to affirmatively request an emotional support animal within established deadlines. In general, only one ESA per student is allowed.
An ESA must remain in the student’s assigned residential living space (bedroom) at all times, except when being transported outside in an approved manner. ESAs are not permitted in shared residential spaces, such as bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, and/or lounges. A student may not take an ESA to class, or into any other building on campus. When an ESA is outside a student’s assigned residential living space, it must be in an animal carrier, or controlled by a leash or harness. The Office of Residential Life will work with a student to identify appropriate spaces for that student’s ESA to exercise and relieve itself, based on where the student resides. The student is responsible for cleaning up and properly disposing of all of the ESA’s waste.
Each student is responsible for the control, care and supervision of their ESA at all times, as well as for ensuring that the animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residential facility, or any of the students who live there. If that student leaves campus for a period of time, they must take the approved animal with them and may not leave the animal on campus overnight or longer, even if under the care of another person.
Students who receive approval for an ESA will select their residential living space through the regular room selection process or lottery. Students are advised, that in order to ensure that an ESA does not interfere with the equitable enjoyment of housing by other students who may have animal allergies or aversions, the College will identify certain residential spaces across campus as animal-free spaces, and they will not be able to live in these spaces with their approved animal. Students needing break housing should select a residential living space that is open during break periods, or make arrangements to stay in a residential living space that is not designated as animal-free.
Accommodation requests for an ESA must be reasonable. An ESA should demonstrate a good temperament, reliable and predictable behavior, and be able to live with others in a reasonable manner. The ESA’s behavior, noise, odor, and waste may also not exceed reasonable standards for a well-behaved animal. A specific animal may be prohibited from serving as an ESA in residential living spaces if that animal’s behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others; would cause substantial physical damage to the residential living space and/or property of others; may force another student(s) from their residential housing space(s); and/or creates unreasonable disruptions for other community members, including their right to peace and quiet enjoyment. Prohibited animals may include venomous animals and exotic or non-domesticated animals. Reptiles as ESAs are discouraged due to their requirement of heat lamps and UVA/B lights, which are prohibited in residential living spaces.
Students must comply with all Village, County, and State ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, as well as College and Housing and Residential Life policies, pertaining to animals. These include, but are not limited to, Ohio Animal Cruelty Laws. The animal must have all veterinarian recommended vaccinations to maintain its health and prevent contagious diseases. Proof of vaccination is required before moving the animal into any residential living space. Kenyon College reserves the right to request an updated health record at any time during the animal's residency. In addition, dogs will need to be licensed in accordance with local ordinances. Dogs and cats must receive monthly preventative flea and tick treatments.
The resident is financially responsible for the actions of the ESA, including damage to College or personal property or harm to others. Any extra cleaning charges that result from the ESA’s presence will be the student’s responsibility. All spaces must be returned to an allergen-free level and a third-party, College approved pest control/cleaning service may be used. The student will also be responsible for any costs incurred should the ESA need to be removed for any reason by College personnel or animal control professionals.
This does not include Service Animals, as defined by the ADA.
An ESA must be requested and approved for each academic year. Kenyon College will accept and consider all reasonable and necessary ESA requests at any time, however, completed requests must be received by the Office of Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS Office) by the following deadlines in order to ensure that approved requests can be accommodated for the specified term and/or remainder of the academic year:
|academic term(s) requested||student group||application deadline|
|Fall & spring semesters||Upper-class students
|Spring semester||All students||Nov. 5|
First-year/entering students, others/guests
Should a need for an ESA occur during a current term and/or after one of the aforementioned dates, students should complete the process below as soon as possible. While the College will make every reasonable effort to address all necessary and requested ESA requests, the College cannot guarantee that it will be reasonable or feasible for the current and/or upcoming term to grant an ESA request received after the stated deadlines.
Submitting a request for an ESA does not guarantee a specific accommodation. Students must complete the ESA request process and receive approval before engaging in any behaviors related to the requested ESA. Additional and more detailed information can be found in the College’s ESA Agreement, which must be signed before an ESA will be permitted in a student’s residential living space.
Students must complete and submit an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Request Form (PDF) to the SASS Office. When the disability and/or need for accommodation is not obvious, students are required to have a treating healthcare provider complete and submit an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Verification Form (PDF) to the SASS Office. This form provides the SASS Office with reliable documentation that the student has a disability. Documentation must also show that the requested ESA is necessary for the student to use and enjoy their residential living space; in addition, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested ESA and their disability. The treating health care provider completing the form must specialize in a field consistent with the diagnosis, as well as be familiar with the student’s disability and the necessity for the requested ESA. To avoid any conflict of interest, documentation must be provided by a non-family healthcare provider.
The Director of SASS will involve a health care professional from the Health and Counseling Center, as well as staff members from the Office of Residential Life to determine if an ESA is reasonable and necessary, as needed.
Unless there are exigent circumstances, the SASS Office will provide a written response for all completed applications, as defined above, within 20 business days. Upon approval, this written response will include how to complete the ESA Agreement and plan for their ESA’s arrival. Upon denial, see the appeals process below.
If the Director of SASS, in consultation with a medical professional from the Health and Counseling Center, as well as staff members from the Office of Residential Life, find that a requested ESA is not necessary and/or reasonable, the student may file a written appeal with the Dean of Students within five (5) business days of the denial. The appeal will be considered on the basis of written materials, information and/or documentation only.
The appeal must be based upon one or more of the following criteria:
• Procedural error(s) made in the consideration of the request
• New information unavailable at the time of the request (i.e. updated medical information)
• The decision was clearly erroneous based on the written record
Upon receipt of the appeal, the Dean of Students will review all of the relevant information and provide a written response within five (5) business days granting the appeal and modifying the initial decision, or denying the appeal and maintaining the initial decision. The Dean’s decision shall be final.
Nothing in the policy shall prohibit a student who believes that they may have been subjected to disability discrimination or discrimination based on disability to utilize the College’s Section 504 Grievance Procedures and/or to pursue a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, or HUD.
Students must complete the form for the academic term(s) for which they are requesting a housing accommodation. Kenyon College reserves the right to revise this policy at any time, as circumstances require.