Dean College is committed to reasonably accommodating students with disabilities who require the assistance of a emotional support animal.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides a therapeutic benefit to a person diagnosed with a psychological disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. An ESA is not a service animal – i.e., is not trained to perform work or tasks directly related to a person’s disability – and is not a pet. 

To request an Emotional Support Animal

  1. Complete the Accommodations and Services Intake form
  2. For students who already have other accommodations or are renewing accommodations: once you are logged in to Accommodate, you will see a list of options on the left-hand side of your screen. Click on “Accommodation” and then from that drop-down, choose “Supplemental.”
  3. Have a licensed clinician most closely associated with your case complete the Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Request Practitioner Form.
  4. Meet with the Associate Director of Accessibility Services to discuss your request after all forms have been submitted.
  5. The Associate Director of Accessibility Services will meet with the Accommodations Review Committee (ARC) and decide whether the request is approved or denied. The ARC may be comprised of representative members from different campus offices if appropriate, such as representatives from Residence Life, Dining Services, Counseling Services, etc. The decision will be communicated to the student via their Dean email account.

Where Emotional Support Animals are Allowed

Before bringing an ESA to campus, the student must obtain approval in advance from the College’s Office of Accessibility, as further described below. Such approval may be provided for either or both of the following contexts:

College Housing

Subject to the limitations discussed below, a student with a documented disability may have an ESA in their assigned College housing if they provide documentation from a qualified clinician demonstrating that the animal is necessary in order for the student to be able to live on campus. 

Other places on campus

Subject to the limitations discussed below, a student with a documented disability have an ESA in places other than their assigned College housing if they provide documentation from a qualified clinician demonstrating that the ESA is necessary in that non-housing context in order for the student to fully participate in some aspect of the student’s educational experience.  

Required Documentation

A student seeking permission to bring an ESA to campus must provide appropriate documentation to the Office of Accessibility Services.

Documentation must be from a qualified professional.

Documentation must include the professional’s name, title, signature, professional credentials, licensure/certification information, and business address.

  • The professional must be currently practicing and licensed as a psychologist, clinical social worker or mental health counselor, psychiatrist or other medical doctor with an appropriate specialty.
  • The clinician must have a current clinical relationship with the student separate from and in addition to an evaluation specifically for the purpose of supporting an ESA request.
  • The clinician may not be employed by or otherwise affiliated with Dean College.
  • The clinician may not be a member of the student’s family close personal friend of the student or the student’s family.

Documentation must be current and comprehensive.

Documentation must address:

  • The nature of the student’s disability;
  • The current impact of the disability on the student’s ability to live in campus housing or otherwise participate in the educational experiences and opportunities afforded by the College;
  • The specific reason(s) why an ESA is required in order for the student to live in campus housing or otherwise to participate in the life of the College;
  • The alternative accommodations the clinician has considered; and
  • Whether alternative any alternative accommodations may address the student’s needs.

ESA Approval Process

Once all required documentation is submitted, the Associate Director of Accessibility Services and the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) will complete a comprehensive review of the student’s request.        

  • It is important to note that a practitioner recommendation does not guarantee that the student’s request for an ESA will be approved.
  • The committee may request a meeting with the student, request permission to communicate directly with the student’s clinician, require an additional evaluation, or otherwise require additional information.

All decisions regarding a request for reasonable accommodation will be communicated to the student in writing.


If the request for an ESA is denied, the student has the right to appeal that decision using the College appeal process.

Issues to Consider When Contemplating an Emotional Support Animal

  • Time obligation related to care of specific species
  • Time away from the animal, student schedule, lifestyle, other responsibilities
  • Financial cost of food, supplies, veterinarian visits
  • Anxiety an animal may experience in a new environment
  • Caring for the animal during school breaks
  • Travel
  • Training of animal (it must be housebroken or litter trained)
  • Ideal time to bring it to campus

ESA Guidelines within Campus Housing

ESAs approved specifically for campus housing must be contained within the assigned residence hall room or associated common area except to the extent the individual is taking the animal out for natural relief. When an ESA is outside of the assigned residence hall room, it must be secured in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness. ESAs approved specifically for campus housing also may not accompany students during off-campus events.

Animals may not be left overnight in college housing to be cared for by any individual other than the owner. If the owner is to be absent from his/her residence hall overnight or longer, the animal must accompany the owner. The owner is responsible for ensuring that the animal is contained, as appropriate, when not present during the day while attending classes or other activities (e.g., in a crate in the Residence Hall room). 

ESAs must be housebroken or litter trained. They must have all current vaccinations and be licensed (as applicable). They must be well-behaved, well cared for, and not present a risk to the health, safety, or well-being of others.