Animals, including pets, are not permitted in Suffolk University buildings with the exception of approved Service and/or Assistance Animals.

Suffolk University recognizes the importance of Service and Assistance Animals to individuals with disabilities and has established the following policy regarding Service and Assistance Animals. This policy ensures that people with disabilities, who require the use of Service or Assistance Animals as a reasonable accommodation, receive the benefit of the work or tasks performed by such animals and/or the therapeutic support they provide. Suffolk is committed to allowing people with disabilities the use of a Service or Assistance Animal on campus to facilitate their full-participation and equal access to the University’s programs and activities, in accordance with the rules set forth below. Set forth below are specific requirements and guidelines concerning the appropriate use of and protocols associated with Service Animals and Assistance Animals.

Who to Contact for More Information on Service and Assistance Animals

Students with disabilities in the College of Arts and Sciences or the Sawyer School of Business should contact the Office of Disability Services. Students in the Law School should contact the Law Dean of Students Office. Employees should contact Human Resources. Visitors to Suffolk’s campus wishing to use a Service or Assistance Animal should contact the coordinator of the program or event that they will be attending. Suffolk University reserves the right to amend this policy as circumstances require.

  • Section I. Definitions

    Service Animal

    A "Service Animal" is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. In some cases, a miniature horse may be permitted as a Service Animal. Other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as Service Animals. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding a person with impaired vision, alerting a person with a hearing impairment, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, and/or performing other duties. Service Animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a Service Animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs, whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support, do not qualify as Service Animals.

    Assistance Animal

    “Assistance Animals” are (1) animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or (2) animals that provide emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. Some, but not all, animals that assist persons with disabilities are professionally trained. Other Assistance Animals are trained by their owners. In some cases, no special training is required. One must consider whether or not the animal performs the assistance or provides the benefit needed as a reasonable accommodation by the person with the disability.

    Pet

    A “Pet” is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a Service Animal or an Assistance Animal. It is not covered by this policy. Individuals are not permitted to keep or bring pets, on University property or in University housing.

    Owner

    The “Owner” is the student or other covered person who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring the approved Service Animal or Assistance Animal on campus.

  • Section II. Service Animals

    Service Animals

    Individuals planning to bring their Service Animals to university buildings and at university events are required to follow the steps outlined below:

    Requests for Service Animals in university buildings, residence halls and/or at university events do NOT require documentation of disability.

    A student in the College of Arts & Sciences or Sawyer Business School seeking to bring a Service Animal to University buildings and/or University events must make a formal request by submitting a “Service Animal Request Form” to the University’s Office of Disability Services.

    A student in the Law School seeking to bring a Service Animal to University buildings and/or University events must make a formal request by submitting a “Service Animal Request Form” to the Law School Dean of Students Office.

    An employee seeking to bring a Service Animal to University buildings and/or University events must make a formal request by submitting a “Service Animal Request Form to the University’s Office of Human Resources.

    A residential student seeking to keep a Service Animal in University housing must make a formal request to the University’s Office of Disability Services. To do so, the residential student must submit the appropriate “Housing Accommodation Form.” This form is due to the Office of Disability Services no later than June 1st for new students and February 1st for returning students. While applications submitted after these dates will be accepted and considered, Suffolk University cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation needs.

    The Office of Disability Services will arrange a meeting with the residence student requesting that a Service Animal be housed in University housing. This policy will be carefully reviewed with the residence student at that time.

    The Department of Residence Life & Housing will make a reasonable effort to notify tenants in the residence building where the Service Animal will be located. Students with medical condition(s) who are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact the Office of Disability Services if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to a Service Animal. The University is prepared to also reasonably accommodate individuals with such medical conditions that require accommodation when living in proximity to Service Animals.

    The Office of Disability Services and the Office of Residence Life and Housing will resolve any conflict in a timely manner. Staff members will consider the conflicting needs and/or accommodations of all residence students involved.

    All roommates, suitemates or apartmentmates of the Owner must sign an agreement acknowledging that the Service Animal will be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates, suitemates or apartmentmates do not approve, either the owner and the Service Animal or the non-approving roommates or suitemates, as determined by the Department of Residence Life & Housing, may be moved to a different location.

    Upon approval of a Service Animal, the residence student’s roommate(s), suitemate(s) or apartmentmate(s) will be notified (if applicable) to solicit their acknowledgement of the approval, and notify them that the approved animal will be residing in shared assigned living space.

    Upon approval of a Service Animal, staff in the Department of Residence Life & Housing will be notified as appropriate.

    Individuals, whose request for a Service Animal through this process is not granted, will have the opportunity to appeal such decisions. Individuals will receive information about the appeals process upon notification of the decision regarding the request for disability accommodations. Appeals will be heard by the following as appropriate:

    • Students in CAS or SBS: Senior Associate Dean of Students, or his/her designee
    • Students in the Law School: Law School Dean of Students, or his/her designee
    • Employees: Director of Human Resources, or his/her designee
    • Visitors or Guests to Campus: Director of Facilities, or his/her designee

    The following pertains to the health and wellbeing of a Service Animal:

    Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations, the Service Animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag. Local licensing requirements are followed.

    Training: Service Animals must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.

    Control: If appropriate, the Service Animal must be on a leash, unless the leash would inhibit the animal's ability to be of service. Otherwise the Service Animal must be under voice control.

    Other Conditions: The Office of Disability Services, the Law School Dean of Students or Human Resources may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the Service Animal depending on the nature and characteristics of the Service Animal.

  • Section III. Assistance Animals

    Assistance Animals

    A residence student requesting permission to keep an Assistance Animal in University housing must make a formal request to the University’s Office of Disability Services. To do so, the residence student should submit the appropriate “Housing Accommodation Form,” as well as documentation of their disability to be reviewed by the Office of Disability Services. The form is available online at www.suffolk.edu/disability. This form is due to the Office of Disability Services no later than June 1st for new students and February 1st for returning students. While applications submitted after these dates will be accepted and considered, Suffolk University cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation needs, including any needs that develop during the semester.

    Documentation of the need for an Assistance Animal should follow the Office of Disability Services guidelines for documentation of disability, and should generally include the following information:

    • Verification of the student’s disability from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional,
    • Statement on how the animal serves as an accommodation for the documented disability, and
    • Statement on how the need for the assistance animal relates to the ability of the student to succeed at the University.
    • Current documentation of items requested must be dated within the last 12 months.

    The Office of Disability Services will review documentation and arrange a meeting with the residence student requesting that an Assistance Animal be permitted in University housing. This policy will be carefully reviewed with the residence student at that time.

    The Department of Residence Life & Housing will make a reasonable effort to notify tenants in the residence building where the Assistance Animal will be located. Students with medical condition(s) who are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact the Office of Disability Services if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to an Assistance Animal. The University is prepared to also reasonably accommodate individuals with such medical conditions that require accommodation when living in proximity to Assistance Animals.

    The Office of Disability Services and the Office of Residence Life and Housing will resolve any conflict in a timely manner. Staff members will consider the conflicting needs and/or accommodations of all residence students involved.

    All roommates, suitemates or apartmentmates of the Owner must sign an agreement allowing the Assistance Animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates, suitemates or apartmentmates do not approve, either the owner and the Assistance Animal or the non-approving roommates or suitemates, as determined by the Department of Residence Life & Housing, may be moved to a different location.

    Upon approval of an Assistance Animal, the residence student’s roommate(s), suitemate(s) or apartmentmate(s) will be notified (if applicable) to solicit their acknowledgement of the approval, and notify them that the approved animal will be residing in shared assigned living space.

    Residence students, whose request for an Assistance Animal through this process is not granted, will have the opportunity to appeal such decisions. Students will receive information about the appeals process upon notification of the decision regarding the request for disability accommodations. Appeals will be heard by the Senior Associate Dean of Students, or his/her designee.

    The following pertains to the health and wellbeing of an Assistance Animal:

    Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations, the Assistance Animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag. Although not mandated, cats should have the normal shots required for a healthy animal. Local licensing requirements are followed.

    Health: Assistance Animals must be in good health as documented annually by a licensed veterinarian. Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the Assistance Animal or a veterinarian's statement regarding the animal's health. The University has authority to direct that the Assistance Animal receive veterinary attention. (Local licensing law is followed.)

    Leash: If appropriate, the Assistance Animal must be on a leash, unless the leash would inhibit the Assistance Animal's ability to be of service.

    Other Conditions: The Office of Disability Services may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the Assistance Animal depending on the nature and characteristics of the Assistance Animal.

  • Section IV. Owner’s Responsibilities for Approved Service and Assistance Animals in the Residence Halls

    Owner’s Responsibilities for Approved Service and Assistance Animals in the Residence Halls

    The Owner is responsible for assuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence hall or cause difficulties for students who reside there.

    The Owner is financially responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal including bodily injury or property damage. The Owner’s responsibility covers but is not limited to replacement of furniture, carpet, window, wall covering, and the like. The Owner is expected to cover these costs at the time of repair and/or move-out.

    The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to University premises that are assessed after the student and Approved Animal vacate the residence. The University shall have the right to bill the student account of the Owner for unmet obligations.

    The Owner must notify the Office of Disability Services in writing if the Approved Animal is no longer needed as an Approved Animal or is no longer in residence. To replace an Approved Animal, the owner must file a new “Housing Accommodation Form.”

    The Owner's residence may be inspected for pests once a semester or as needed. The Department of Residence Life & Housing will schedule the inspection. If pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods 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.

    When outside the residence hall, the Owner of an Assistance Animal shall carry an approved Accommodation Letter from the Office of Disability Services that the animal is an Approved Animal.

    Approved Animals may not be left overnight in University housing to be cared for by another student. Approved Animals must be taken with the student if they leave campus for a prolonged period.

    The Department of Residence Life & Housing may relocate the Owner and Approved Animal as necessary according to the license agreement.

    The Owner agrees to continue to abide by all other residential policies. Reasonable accommodation which may constitute an exception to a policy that otherwise would prohibit having an animal does not constitute an exception to any other policy.

    Any violation of the above rules may result in immediate removal of the Approved Animal from the University and may be reviewed through the Student Conduct System and the Owner will be afforded all the rights and procedures provided by that process.

    Should the Approved Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the license agreement.

    The Owner undertakes to comply with animal health and wellbeing requirements described in this policy.

  • Section V. Guidelines for Maintaining an Approved Service and Assistance Animals at Suffolk University

    Guidelines for Maintaining an Approved Service and Assistance Animals at Suffolk University

    The following guidelines apply to all Approved Animals and their Owners, unless the nature of the documented disability of the Owner precludes adherence to these guidelines, and permission for a variance from the guidelines has been granted by the Office of Disability Services, Law School Dean of Students Office or Human Resources Office.

    Care and Supervision

    Care and supervision of the Approved Animal are the responsibility of the Owner. The Owner is required to maintain control of the Approved Animal at all times.

    The Owner is also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the Approved Animal's waste. Indoor animal waste must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag before being disposed.

    Removal of Approved Animals

    Suffolk University may exclude/remove an Approved Animal when 1) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or 2) the Approved Animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the University's program, or 3) the Owner does not comply with Owner’s responsibilities in University housing or in University buildings and/or at University events.

    Damage

    Owners of Approved Animals are solely responsible for any damage to persons or University property caused by their animals.

    Areas Off Limits to Animals

    The University may prohibit the use of Approved Animals in certain locations because of health and safety restrictions (e.g. where the Approved Animals may be in danger or where their use may compromise the integrity of research). Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to: custodial closets, boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, research laboratories, classrooms with research/demonstration animals, areas where protective clothing is necessary, wood and metal shops, motor pools, rooms with heavy machinery, and areas outlined in state law as being inaccessible to animals.

    Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis. To request an exception, the Owner must contact the Office of Disability Services or, in the case of law students, the Law School Dean of Students Office, or in the case of employees, Human Resources or the appropriate department representative; the person directing the restricted area has the final decision.

    Requirements for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the University Community

    Members of the University community are required to abide by the following practices:

    • They are to allow the Approved Animal to accompany its owner at all times and in all places on campus, except where animals are specifically prohibited.
    • They are not to touch or pet the Approved Animal unless invited to do so.
    • They are not to feed the Approved Animal.
    • They are not to deliberately startle the Approved Animal.
    • They are not to separate or to attempt to separate an Owner from his or her Approved Animal.
    • They are not to inquire for details about the Owner's disabilities. The nature of a person's disability is a private matter.