AccessAbility Services

Emotional support animals

In accordance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Office of AccessAbility Services (OAS) at Goodwin University engages in a deliberative, interactive process with students in order to determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations, including the use of an emotional support animal. An emotional support animal is an animal specifically designated by a qualified medical provider that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual's mental health disability. Such an animal may afford individuals with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy in their residence hall, provided there is a connection between the individuals' disability and the symptom alleviation the animal provides. Emotional support animals are not typically trained to provide specific services for an individual with a disability and can be various species of animal. If the animal meets the FHA definition of an emotional support animal, but not the ADA definition of a service animal (limited only to dogs), the animal cannot accompany the student to areas other than the student's dormitory or housing facility.

When making a determination regarding a student's request for an emotional support animal, OAS will consider the following:

  • The type and size of the animal;
  • Whether the animal's presence would force another student from that individual's housing (e.g., serious allergies);
  • Whether the animal's presence would violate individuals' rights to peace and quiet;
  • Whether the animal is housebroken or able to live with others;
  • Direct threat (currently or in the past) to the individual or others;
  • Past excessive damage to housing caused by the animal;

Registration process for an emotional support animal

  1. Register online with the Office of AccessAbility Services by completing the registration form, along with documentation, and emailing it back to MRajbanshi@goodwin.edu
  2. Provide documentation from an appropriate treatment provider (who is not a family member) on official letterhead, which includes the following information:
    • A description of your condition and how it impacts one or more major life activities;
    • A description regarding the necessity of the emotional support animal;
    • A description regarding the relationship between your disability and the relief the animal provides.
  3. Once your registration form and documentation are received, OAS will contact you to set up a time to talk in person, over the phone, or via video chat.
  4. You will receive an email notification from OAS regarding the outcome of your request.
  5. An agreement will be signed by the student, OAS, and Residential Life if you are approved for an emotional support animal, and students will discuss the details of their agreement with Residential Life.