Here to Stay: A Case Study on Service Animals in Residence Halls

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Background

My name is Jess and I am hard of hearing. I live in a residence hall on an urban campus. I need to walk several blocks through high traffic areas to my classes, to the dining hall, and to social activities.

Access Issue

I need assistance navigating the city streets near the dorm and classroom buildings. I have a service dog that is trained to help people who are deaf and hard of hearing navigate traffic and warn them of danger from behind and/or oncoming traffic. The residence director requested documentation before he would allow my service dog to stay with me in my dorm room.

Solution

The disabled student services counselor, the residence assistant, and I worked together to make sure the appropriate documentation was completed to allow the service dog in campus housing. We also coordinated other logistics related to care of the animal.

Conclusions

This case study illustrates the following:

  1. A student who is deaf or hard of hearing may benefit from the help of a service animal or auxiliary aides.
  2. Students are responsible for planning for their needs and following appropriate institutional policies and procedures regarding requests for reasonable accommodations.
  3. The disabled student services office and the campus housing office should work together to create and inform staff about policies related to service animals and other accommodations for students with disabilities.

Last update or review: January 22, 2013