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Emotional Support Animals in Campus Housing

Emotional Support Animals in Campus Housing

Williston State College (WSC) follows the most recent guidance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) regarding Emotional Support Animals (ESA). In accordance with FHAA and DOJ, WSC policy explains the specific requirement applicable to an individual's use of an ESA in College housing. WSC reserves the right to amend this policy as circumstances require. This policy applies solely to ESAs which may be necessary in College housing. It does not apply to "service animals" as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) on campus. 

Additional information regarding the Williston State College Emotional Support Animal policy can be found here.


Emotional Support Animal: Under the FHAA, an "emotional support animal" is defined as an animal that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. It allows the student with a disability to receive full benefits or enjoyment of the residence facility.   "Emotional Support Animals" (ESA) are a category of animals that provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a mental or physical disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual's disability. In most cases, ESAs provide the necessary support to individuals with a disability without any formal training or certification. Dogs are commonly used as ESAs, but any animal may serve a person with a disability as an ESA. Species other than dogs or domestic cats will be considered on a case by case basis.     Emotional Support Animals are prescribed to an individual with a disability by a licensed professional with expertise in the identified disability. WSC Counseling Services may not serve as a verifier. Emotional Support Animals are an integral part of a person's treatment process to assist in alleviating the symptoms of an individual's disability. There must be a relationship, or nexus, between the individual's disability and the assistance the animal provides.   Emotional Support Animals are only to be permitted in the individual's privately assigned individual living accommodations (e.g., room, suite, and apartment) except to the extent the individual is taking the animal out for natural relief. These animals are not allowed in any other campus buildings. Students living off campus should note that Emotional Support Animals ARE NOT allowed in campus buildings.  

Disability: A person with a disability is defined as someone who has "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities."  

Owner: The "Owner" is the individual who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring an ESA into WSC Housing.  

Pet: A "Pet" is defined as an animal that is kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a Service or Emotional Support Animal. Animals defined strictly as "pets" are not allowed to live on campus in the residence halls or apartment buildings that are controlled by Williston State College.