Housing and Dining


Requests for housing and dining accommodations or exemption will be considered on a case-by-case basis according to need. Documentation of disability and strong medical support is required. Following a thorough review, Student Success staff will make recommendations as appropriate to the Office of Residence Life. If the Office of Residence Life cannot provide the recommended accommodation, an exemption from the housing requirement will be granted. (See documentation requirements.)


In general, the following diagnoses may lend themselves to housing accommodations or exemption:

  • Disorders Involving Muscular Degeneration
  • Immunodeficiency Disorders (or need for chronic medication which significantly impacts immune function)
  • Sleep Disorder (generally a full sleep assessment including sleep disorder lab study will be required)

In general, the following diagnoses do not lend themselves to housing accommodations or exemption:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Depression and/or Anxiety
  • Eating Disorders
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Once OAS receives the Housing Accommodation Request Form and Documentation, staff will contact the student, in writing, to set up a meeting to discuss the requested housing accommodation to ensure that the need and scope of the request is fully understood.

All submitted requests and documentation will be reviewed by the Housing Accommodation Committee upon being received. The committee will evaluate all requests for need-based housing assignments carefully.

Documentation Requirements

Documentation must:

  • Be in the form of a letter or report from a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist or other medical provider who is qualified to make the diagnosis and is currently treating you for the disability for which you are requesting a housing accommodation. For example, a psychiatrist would not be an appropriate clinician to provide documentation for a gastrointestinal condition.
  • The documentation must be on official letterhead and should be signed and dated within the last year.
  • Include a specific diagnosis, a statement of your current condition, the date and a summary of your most recent evaluation, and the expected duration of your condition.
  • State the current impact of (or functional limitations) imposed by the condition on your living situation.
  • Explain how the condition relates to your request for a Housing accommodation. There must be a direct link established between the condition and your requested housing accommodation.
  • Clearly state a specific housing accommodation recommendation as a result of the condition.
  • Include possible alternatives if the requested accommodation is not available.
  • Provide evidence the provider is currently treating you for the condition for which the accommodation is requested.

In all cases, the University expects students to adhere to the treatment recommendations of the professionals helping them manage their care. To this end, requests MUST be made every academic year to the next and updated documentation stating student progress may be required at the time of renewal requests.

If you feel the OAS staff has not adequately addressed your concerns, please follow the steps outlined under “Grievance Procedures.” 

Food Allergy Policy

Food Allergy Policy & Procedures for Requesting Accommodation

Oglethorpe University is committed to offering students with dietary choices that fit their needs. Student participation in an Oglethorpe meal plan is required, with specific plans depending on a student’s residential status. We have numerous resources to assist students in selecting foods that fit their diet and we work together to provide reasonable accommodations so that each member of our campus community may achieve a safe and enjoyable dining experience.

The purpose of this policy is to establish a procedure to alert the University to the existence of food allergies on campus, to emphasize the importance of keeping students with food allergies safe, and to notify students of the measures available to accommodate food allergies.

A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a certain food as harmful and reacts by causing reactions and symptoms. Some individuals with food allergies have a disability as defined by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), particularly those with more significant or severe responses to certain foods. This would include individuals with celiac disease and others who have autoimmune responses to certain foods, the symptoms of which may include difficulty swallowing or breathing, asthma, or anaphylactic shock. The ADA defines a disability as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, such as eating. Major life activities include major bodily functions, such as the functions of the gastrointestinal system. Oglethorpe is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to students with food allergy disabilities.

Students with food allergies who would like to request an accommodation should notify the Accessibility Office by completing this form and e-mailing it to [email protected].

Medical documentation and medication information relevant to the condition is required. It is essential, as with other conditions, that the documentation supports the need for accommodation/modification as defined by the ADA. The documentation must be from a physician noting the student has a food allergy and must and in accordance with the Accessibility Office documentation guidelines available here.

Upon receipt of the request form and medical documentation, the Accessibility Office will review for necessary requirements and engage in an interactive process with the student. The process may involve coordinating accommodations with other offices on campus. All accommodations will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

The Accessibility office will provide documentation of any plan to the student, dining services, residential life staff, campus safety, as well as athletics staff when applicable. Any protocols for individualized emergency response will be included in the plan.

As with other medical information, information about a student’s food allergy or celiac disease will only be shared with those staff members directly involved in the implementation of accommodations, or in the emergency plans for these students. A student will be asked to waive any applicable privacy protections in order for the information to be shared appropriately among those involved with implementation and emergency plans.

Students are responsible for informing the Accessibility office of their need to develop a plan to accommodate their food allergy, for reviewing any labeling and ingredient information available on the dining website and in the dining halls, and inquiring if there are no labels, in order to make safe food choices. Students are responsible for carrying on their person any prescribed medication to treat the effects of food allergies and information for individualized emergency response plans. Students should also notify roommates about their food allergies.

When a student is suspected to have an allergic reaction, a staff member should call 911. The staff member should provide information relating to the allergic reaction and location of the student. After calling 911, the staff member should immediately inform campus safety 404-504-1998. A staff member will stay with the individual until medical help arrives. If the situation is deemed to be a medical emergency a staff member may accompany the student at the hospital. If a student has an individual emergency plan on file, additional outlined steps should be followed such as the administration of epinephrine.

Food services and residence life staff are trained on these procedures.

Oglethorpe will engage in an ongoing assessment of review of food safety policies and procedures to ensure compliance and remedy mistakes so that they can be avoided in the future.

Service Animal Policy

Oglethorpe University is committed to providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.  The University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Oglethorpe University permits Service Animals in campus residential housing and in the classroom.

Emotional Support Animal Policy

Oglethorpe University is committed to providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. The University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Oglethorpe University permits Emotional Support Animals in campus residential housing as a reasonable accommodation after the student has met the guidelines under which approval of an Emotional Support Animal is determined, and the procedure for requesting housing accommodations has been completed and approved. Please note that if a student is found responsible for having an Emotional Support Animal without prior written approval, student will be subject to penalties that may include fines, housing re-assignment, residential suspension, or other appropriate disciplinary action as determined by Residence Life.

“Emotional Support Animals” are animals that provide assistance or emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Emotional Support Animals may be called assistance or therapy animals by other organizations but Oglethorpe’s policy calls them Emotional Support Animals. For animals to be designated as Emotional Support Animals, students are required to demonstrate that their identified animal alleviates symptoms of a qualified disability (See section 2.2 for documentation requirements).

“Service Animals” are dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Service Animals are permitted nearly everywhere on campus. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals.

A “Pet” is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Animal and is not covered by this policy. On-campus residents are not permitted to keep pets, other than fish, on University property or in University housing.

An “Owner” is the student who has requested an accommodation under this policy and has received approval to bring a specifically identified Emotional Support Animal on campus as listed in the Animal Information section contained within this policy.

“Assigned Living Space” is the residential space assigned to a specific student. This is limited to their assigned bedroom, their designated bathroom, and the small common space inside their assigned suite. Depending on the configuration of the living space, these spaces may be shared with other students.

Emotional Support Animals may not be brought into campus housing without prior written express approval of university officials. Emotional Support Animals may be considered for living in the student’s assigned residence hall; however, they are not permitted in other areas of the University. Guests of any resident may not bring an assistance/emotional support/therapy animal into a residence hall.

A. The procedures for requesting Emotional Support Animals in University-owned housing are as follows:

  1. A student requesting permission for an Emotional Support Animal in housing must make contact with the Accessibility Services Office prior to submission of any documentation.
  2. A student requesting permission for an Emotional Support Animal in housing must make a formal request, in writing, to Accessibility Services using the documentation guidelines below.
  3. Once documentation is submitted to the Accessibility Services office, Accessibility Services will convene the Housing Accommodations Committee to review all submitted documentation.

Please note: Accessibility Services may request a meeting with the student seeking the accommodation prior or after reviewing their documentation as a part of the interactive process.

B. In order to provide enough time for consideration, students should submit a request at least thirty (30) days prior to the date on which the resident seeks to have the animal in the residence hall. Requests submitted fewer than thirty (30) days in advance will be considered, but are not guaranteed to be reviewed by the students desired date.

C. The University will require documentation from a presently treating physician, psychiatrist, or other mental or medical health professional (not related to the student) certifying the nature of the disability and/or that the Emotional Support Animal is part of a prescribed treatment plan for the disabling condition and alleviates symptoms or effects of a disability. Documentation should generally include the following information:

  1. The “Disability Verification Form – ESA Version” (available from the Accessibility Services Office)
  2. A letter from the current provider that follows the guidelines below:
    a. Verification must include a specific diagnosis of the student’s disability from a presently treating physician, psychiatrist, or other mental or medical health provider. The treatment provider must be qualified to make the diagnosis and must be currently treating the student for the disability for which they are requesting an Emotional Support Animal;
    i. The University defines a presently treating physician, psychiatrist, or other mental/medical health provider as someone who has seen the student within the last calendar year, and can provide an assessment of services rendered to the student to document that the ESA is a part of a current treatment plan.
    1. Statement on how the specifically identified animal assists the student regarding the use of campus housing; and serves as an accommodation for the identified disability.
    2. The provider must be aware of the animal, aware of the animal’s functional limitations, services provided, and document those in the letter.
    b. Statement regarding the relationship between the student’s disability and the relief the specifically identified emotional support animal provides. There must be a clear, direct link established between the condition and the specifically identified Emotional Support Animal.
    c. The provider should explain how this connection supports a student’s ability to live on-campus, and the connection to the on-campus housing limitations posed by the disability of the student.
    d. The documentation must be on official letterhead and signed and dated within the last academic year.

Oglethorpe University does not accept documentation from online service providers that are not sufficient to reliably attest to a non-observable disability, or disability related need for an assistance animal. Oglethorpe recognizes that many providers are available online, and render services through virtual platforms, however, a clear established relationship must occur, and be evident through the documentation provided.

D. The University reserves the right to talk with the professional regarding the documentation with student consent. If needed, students will be asked to grant permission for the current provider to discuss their patient records with the university.

E. If an ESA request is not approved Accessibility Services will work with student to explore other reasonable accommodation requests.

F. Upon approval of an Emotional Support Animal, residential building staff will be notified as appropriate.

G. Upon approval of an Emotional Support Animal, the student’s roommate(s) or suitemate(s) will be notified to solicit their acknowledgment of the approval, and notify them that the approved Emotional Support Animal will be residing in the assigned living space.

H. The following conditions must be met and documentation provided to Accessibility Services to be kept on file. Should there be concern over the Emotional Support Animal’s health or registration status, the University reserves the right to ask for records pertaining to these items at any time. Owners must be able to produce them within 48 hours.

    1. Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations the Emotional Support Animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. The State of Georgia requires that all dogs and cats three months of age or older be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Dogs and cats should wear vaccination tags.
    2. Routine Treatments: In order to minimize potential disturbances to the community, when appropriate to the Emotional Support Animal, Owners should administer preventative flea and tick medication on a regular basis.
    3. Health: Emotional Support Animals, other than cats and dogs, to be housed in campus housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.  Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian’s statement regarding the animal’s health.  The University has authority to direct that the Emotional Support Animal receive veterinary attention.
    4. Registration: The DeKalb County animal ordinance requires all dog, cat, and ferret owners in DeKalb County to register their animals. This is a requirement regardless of Service or Emotional Support Animal status for the animal. Proof of registration is required. More information is available at dekalbanimalservices.com

Any approval for a specifically identified Emotional Support Animal on campus as listed in Animal Identification section contained within this policy is only for the designated academic year and will need to be renewed annually.

Renewal Process Will Involve:

  1. A renewal of roommate/suitemate agreement contained within this policy.
  2. Student is responsible to submit any documentation listed in section C that is not current with the new academic year.
  3. Student is responsible to submit any documentation listed in section L that is not current with the new academic year.
  4. In order to provide enough time for consideration, students should submit a renewal request at least thirty (30) days prior to the date on which the resident seeks to have the Emotional Support Animal in the residence hall.

Title III of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 dictates that an institution must make reasonable academic adjustments, provide auxiliary aids and/or services for those individuals with a qualified disability who self identify. To determine reasonable adjustments, auxiliary aids and/or services, Student Success staff will seek current documentation of the student’s disorder/impairment, as well as, information from appropriate University personnel regarding essential standards for courses, programs, services, activities, and facilities. A reasonable academic adjustment is one that does not require a substantial change in the curriculum or alter any of the essential elements or functions of the course, program, service, or activity. Academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services are determined on a case-by-case basis and course-by-course basis.