• Affirmative Action
  • Residential Life
Responsible Unit SAS and RLLC
Responsible Cabinet Member Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
Adoption Date Unavailable
Last Revision Date 2017-Summer
Last Review Date

Policy Statement

SUNY Brockport, Office of Residential Life/Learning Communities (ORL/LC) recognizes the importance of “Service Animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as the broader category of “Assistance Animals” under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), that provide physical and/or emotional support to individuals with disabilities.

“ORL/LC is committed to allowing individuals with disabilities the use of a Service Animal and/or an Assistance Animal in the approved individual’s residence hall room, apartment, bed space, and associated common areas, so that they have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing.” This Policy explains the specific requirements applicable to an individual’s use of an assistance animal in University housing. ORL/LC reserves the right to amend this Policy as circumstances require.


There is no purpose/scope provided for this policy at this time


There is no applicability provided for this policy at this time


 There are no definitions for this policy at this time.

Policy Procedures

Reasonable Accommodation Policy for Assistance Animals

Although it is the policy of ORL/LC that individuals are generally prohibited from having animals of any type in University housing, ORL/LC will consider a request to allow an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation by an individual with a disability. However, no assistance animal may be kept in University housing at any time prior to the individual receiving approval pursuant to this Policy.

In order to have an assistance animal in the residence halls or apartments, the following is required:

1. For all students, the request for an assistance animal should be made in writing via email from the student’s Brockport account to the Office of Residential Life/Learning Communities ( by August 1 for fall admits and January 1 for spring admits.

2. The request must include documentation from a licensed health care professional (i.e. physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker) who has provided treatment to the student for a disability. The documentation should include:

a. The diagnosis for which the therapy animal is recommended

b. Documentation that supports the connection between the diagnosis/symptoms and the use of the assistance animal to treat or manage those symptoms.

c. Other treatment methods previously/currently being utilized to help treat the individual, and how effective it was

3. The request must include a physical description of the animal, including height and weight, and confirmation that the animal is housebroken or confined such that housebreaking is not necessary (e.g., fish in a fishbowl). Also include any equipment that will be needed for the care of the animal.

4. The request must include a statement from a qualified veterinarian that the animal has received all appropriate vaccinations, is in generally good health, and can appropriately reside in a residence life environment without detriment to its health or the health of people or other animals.

With advanced approval, a student with a disability may have an assistance animal in their residence hall room or apartment bed space as a reasonable accommodation.

University housing is unique in several aspects including the mandatory assignment of roommates for many individuals and the mandate that individuals must share a room or suite in certain residence halls. To ensure that the presence of assistance animals do not constitute an undue administrative burden or fundamentally alter University housing, ORL/LC reserves the right to assign an individual with an assistance animal to a single room without a roommate.

The presence of an assistance animal cannot unduly interfere with the enjoyment of campus living facilities by roommates, suitemates and/or members of the University community. To the extent possible, the Residence Life Office will work with students in order to identify options that will allow for the presence of the assistance animal while maintaining suitable living facilities for others.

The Office of Residential Life/Learning Communities will consult with The Office of Students with Disabilities, Hazen Center for Integrated Care and Office of Affirmative Action as needed in making a determination on a case-by-case basis of whether the presence of an assistance animal is reasonable. A request for an assistance animal may be denied as unreasonable if the presence of the animal:

1. Imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden to the University;

2. Fundamentally alters University housing policies;

3. Poses a threat to the health and safety of others or would cause undue property damage.

ORL/LC may consider the following factors, among others, in determining whether the presence of the animal is reasonable or in the making of housing assignments for individuals with assistance/companion animals:

1. The size of the animal is too large for available assigned housing space;

2. The animal’s presence would force another individual from individual housing (e.g. serious allergies);

3. The animal’s presence otherwise violates individuals’ right to peace and quiet enjoyment;

4. The animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;

5. The animal’s vaccinations are not up-to-date;

6. The animal poses or has posed in the past an unreasonable threat to the individual or others through aggressive or unsanitary behavior;

7. The animal causes or has caused damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear.

8. Evidence that the student would not be able to regularly provide care for the animal (i.e. student athletic commitments, on/off campus employment, study abroad, internships, student teaching, etc.)

An assistance animal must be contained and properly housed and restrained or otherwise under the control of the owner at all times. No owner shall permit the animal to go loose or run at large. If an animal is found running at large, the animal is subject to capture and confinement and immediate removal from University housing. The assistance animal must be kept within the privately assigned individual living accommodations (e.g., room, suite, or apartment) except when taking the animal out for natural relief or exercise. When a assistance animal is outside the private individual living accommodations, it must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness.

Individual’s Responsibilities for Assistance Animal

If the University grants an individual’s request to live with an assistance animal, the individual is solely responsible for the custody and care of the animal and must meet the following requirements:

A. General Responsibilities

1. The owner must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals. It is the individual’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and regulations. The University has the right to require documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, which may include a vaccination certificate.

2. The owner is required to clean up after and properly dispose of the animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner and, when provided, must use animal relief areas designated by ORL/LC.

3. The owner is required to ensure the animal is well cared for at all times. Any evidence of mistreatment or abuse may result in immediate removal of the assistance animal and/or discipline for the individual. If there is any suspicion of animal cruelty, it will be investigated and reported to local authorities if warranted.

4. ORL/LC reserves the right to charge the owner for any damage caused by his or her assistance animal to the same extent that it charges other individuals for damages beyond reasonable wear and tear. The owner’s living accommodations may also be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests if necessary as part of the University’s standard or routine inspections. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected, the residence will be treated by a University-approved pest control service. The owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls. The University shall have the right to bill the individual’s account for unmet obligations under this provision

5. The owner must fully cooperate with University personnel with regard to meeting the terms of this policy and developing procedures for care of the animal (e.g., cleaning the animal, feeding/watering the animal, designating an outdoor relief area, disposing of feces, etc.).

6. Assistance animals may not be left overnight in University 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.

7. The owner is responsible for ensuring that the therapy animal is contained, as appropriate, when the owner is not present during the day while attending classes or other activities.

8. The owner agrees to abide by all equally applicable residential policies that are unrelated to the individual’s disability such as assuring that the animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for individuals who reside there.

9. The animal is allowed in University housing only as long as it is a necessary accommodation of the owner’s disability. The owner must notify the ORL/LC in writing if the assistance/companion animal is no longer needed or is no longer in residence. To replace an assistance animal, the new animal must be necessary because of the owner’s disability and the owner must follow the procedures in this Policy.

10. ORL/LC personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for any assistance/companion animal including, but not limited to, removing the animal during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm.

11. Emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the animal and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the animal.

12. The individual must provide written consent for the Office of Residential Life/Learning Communities to disclose information regarding the request for and presence of the assistance animal to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal including, but not limited to, relevant University personnel and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s). Such information shall be limited to information related to the animal and shall not include information related to the individual’s disability.

B. Removal of an Assistance Animal

The University may require the individual to remove the animal from University housing if:

1. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or causes substantial property damage to the property of others;

2. The animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of a University program;

3. The owner does not comply with the owner’s Responsibilities set forth above;

4. The animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the University community.

Any removal of the animal will be done in consultation with the Office of Students with Disabilities and Office of Affirmative Action. Should the assistance animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill their housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

Links to Related Procedures and Information

There are no links for this policy at this time.

Contact Information

There is no contact information for this policy at this time.

History (in descending order)

Item Date Explanation
Next Review Date 2022-Summer Five-year review
Adoption Date 2017-Summer Policy Adopted
Draft Review Date Unavailable Draft Policy under 30-day Campus Review


There are no approvals for this policy at this time.