Kenyon College is committed to supporting students with medical dietary disabilities and/or conditions with reasonable accommodations to provide equal access to the College’s meal plan and/or facility. The Meal Plan Accommodation Policy applies to all students and explains the specific steps necessary to request a meal plan accommodation 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.
The College believes that a major feature of attending a residential college is the opportunity for all students to live with one another. As such, all students enrolled at Kenyon College are required to live in College housing and enroll in the College meal plan. Given the challenges that would be related to preparing an individualized dietary plan for the entire student body, the College requires students with medical dietary disabilities and/or conditions, who require reasonable meal plan accommodation, to affirmatively request such meal plan accommodation within the established deadlines.
Since there is only one College meal plan and facility (Peirce Hall), the Office of Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS) works closely with the College’s food service vendor to provide students with reasonable meal plan accommodations. Most medical dietary disabilities and/or conditions can be met by developing a Food Management Plan which outlines reasonable accommodations with the SASS Office. Reasonable meal plan accommodations currently available include, but are not limited to gluten-free and lactose-free food options, meals for medically-required vegan diets, and the option to request alternative meals when necessitated by a documented disability or dietary need.
Students who may need a housing accommodation because of a medical dietary disability and/or condition, other than access to a community kitchen, must also follow the process for requesting a housing accommodation.
Meal plan accommodations must be requested and approved for each academic year. Kenyon College will accept and consider all reasonable and necessary meal plan accommodation 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 Due Date|
|Fall and spring semesters||Upper-class students
|Spring semester||All students||Nov. 15|
A meal plan is not available for students during the summer.
Should a need for reasonable meal plan accommodation 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 accommodations, the College cannot guarantee that it will be reasonable or feasible for the current and/or upcoming term to grant a meal plan modification and/or accommodation request received after the stated deadlines.
Submitting a request for a reasonable meal plan accommodation does not guarantee a specific accommodation. Additionally, meal plan exemptions generally are only for documented disabilities and/or conditions that are medically necessary and that cannot be accommodated by the College’s food service vendor. Except in rare situations, this first includes developing a Food Management Plan outlining the reasonable accommodation with the SASS Office, with Kenyon’s food service vendor providing the necessary accommodation. Students must complete the meal plan accommodation request process and receive approval before engaging in any behaviors related to the requested meal plan accommodation.
Students must complete and submit a Meal Plan Accommodation Request Form (PDF) to the SASS Office. When the disability and/or need for accommodation is not obvious, students may also be asked to have a treating healthcare provider complete and submit a Meal Plan Accommodation 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 accommodation is necessary to provide them with equal access to the College’s meal plan and/or facility; in addition, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation 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 accommodation. To avoid any conflict of interest, documentation must be provided by a non-family healthcare provider.
If the Director of SASS, in consultation with a medical professional from the Health and Counseling Center, as well as staff members from the College’s food service vendor and Office of Residential Life, find that a requested meal plan accommodation is not necessary and/or unreasonable, 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 only 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 either 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 to utilize the College’s Section 504 Grievance Procedures and/or to pursue a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.
Students must complete the form for the academic term(s) for which they are requesting a meal plan accommodation. Kenyon College reserves the right to revise this policy at any time, as circumstances require.