Policies for Use of Animals

Disability Resources has policies to address the use of Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and Service Animals. An ESA may reside in college housing when necessary to afford a student with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy residential housing. 

Before an ESA can move into college housing with a student with a disability, a request must be submitted to Disability Resources and approval must be granted—preferably at least 60 days prior to move in.

If the disability is not obvious, the office may require documentation from a licensed physician or mental health provider, such as a qualified psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional, to provide sufficient information for Disability Resources to determine:

  1. That the individual qualifies as a person with a disability (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities); and,
  2. That the animal is necessary to allow the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy residential housing (i.e., the animal would provide emotional support or other assistance that would help lessen the effects of a disability). 

While ESAs are generally not allowed indoors on Oberlin’s campus other than in college housing, persons with a disability may request approval from Disability Resources to have the support animal accompany them to other areas on campus. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis consistent with applicable laws. 

Specific definitions, policies and procedures concerning animals may be found in the following documents: