Skip Navigation

Accommodations & Services

Academic Accommodations & Services

Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis considering an individual's challenges and the academic demands and responsibilities of residential life at Smith College. Contact the Office of Disability Services to talk about the accommodations you may need. Common accommodations made by the college include:

  • extended time allowed for examinations
  • computer access for examinations
  • distraction-reduced testing locations
  • additional time for written assignments
  • classroom note takers
  • audio books or books in electronic format
  • sign language interpreters/C-Print real-time captioning

Mobility Accommodations

The ACCESS van provides on-campus transportation for students, faculty and staff with temporary or permanent disabilities affecting mobility. Van riders who will need to use the van for more than two days are asked to register with us and to provide medical information concerning their need for the service.

Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.–7 p.m. (in 15-minute intervals)

To request a ride, call 413-695-0065. Receipt of a return call will confirm your scheduled ride. Standing reservations are available for a semester.

Rules & Regulations

Public Safety is not responsible for transporting students.

Reservations

Please make your reservation at least two hours in advance. It is preferable to schedule rides one week in advance of the ride date. Rides are a first-call, first-served basis.

Missed Rides & Repeated Cancellations

Repeated last-minute cancellations or failure to show for a scheduled ride may compromise your access to the van service. Drivers will wait five minutes past the scheduled pick-up time and then they must go on to their next rider. If you miss a ride, call the van service and the driver will make every effort to get back to you as soon as the schedule allows.

Inclement Weather & Snow Days

If driving conditions become too dangerous, the van service will not be available. In this event, all riders with scheduled rides will be notified of cancellations. A message will also be placed on the cell phone voicemail to let callers know that the service has been interrupted.

Off-Campus Rides

Off-campus rides must be approved in advance by the director of disability services. Please note that off-campus rides are not the primary purpose of the van service and that authorization is dependent upon several factors, including available time in the ride schedule. The van cannot provide transportation to areas outside the immediate Northampton area. Van transportation to other campuses in the Five College area via UMass Transit is available by advance request through the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to individuals with disabilities who cannot use the bus system.

Driver Restrictions

Drivers are not responsible for carrying or lifting items in or out of buildings, nor will they come into a building to look for a rider. Riders must be at the designated pick-up point. Drivers will not sit and wait for riders while they are at meals. Rides are from one designated pick-up point to one designated drop-off point only. Drivers are responsible for transporting riders with temporary or permanent disabilities. A rider may be accompanied by one other person.


Dietary Accommodations

Students needing dietary accommodations for specific allergies, diabetes, eating disorders, gastrointestinal disorders or other medical conditions must register with disability services. You need to submit a written description of your food concerns and meet with the disability services director. You must also provide information from an appropriate clinician about any specific dietary restrictions or needs. We will then refer you to dining services to develop a food plan. You may come in to discuss your needs at any time, with or without documentation.

Gluten-Free Dining

Dining Services provides a fully gluten-free dining option located at Dawes House. Students with celiac disease or other conditions that cause gluten intolerance may request access to the Dawes dining option by registering with disability services and providing medical information about your condition and any additional restrictions or allergies that need to be addressed. Students granted access to Dawes must carefully adhere to those rules designed to keep the location free of gluten contamination. Depending on your level of need, you may be offered more limited gluten-free options at other locations.


Housing Accommodations

Smith College is a residential campus that requires all students to live on campus throughout their entire enrollment at the college. To the extent feasible, housing accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities or significant medical conditions. Students' preferences for specific houses will be considered but may not always be met in situations where the unique character and age of a particular residence hall limits access.

Students needing housing accommodations must apply through the standard housing process, while also submitting their request for accommodation to the Office of Disability Services with supporting medical documentation by the appropriate deadlines. Failure to submit complete information by these deadlines may delay or prevent the college from meeting the request.

Smith College is committed to assuring equal access for disabled students, staff, and faculty, as well as guests and visitors to the campus. It is the college’s policy to permit service animals as defined by state and federal Laws. The college may also permit support animals, as determined on a case by case basis by the college, to reside in the residence hall with a student with a documented disability as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Amendments.

This policy and the following requirements apply to students, visitors, guests, and temporary residents as appropriate. They are designed to assure equal access while addressing health and safety concerns, particularly in residence halls. This policy supports Smith College’s commitment to comply with state and federal laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended and related laws, rules and regulations, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. 93-112, 87 Stat. 394 (29 U.S.C. 794), as amended, and MA General Laws chapter 129, section 39F, and in adherence to the Fair Housing Amendments. Adherence to these policies and requirements by all in the Smith community is essential to support a foundation of understanding, comfort, and security that make Smith a welcoming and accessible place for all.

Section 1: Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Definition: Service animals are defined under the ADA as dogs that are trained to perform one or more specific tasks for a person with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by actively preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition. (ADA, March 15, 2011) Service animals are permitted in all public areas of campus, except where specific restrictions apply, see Restricted Areas section below. Massachusetts State law also support access to public places for service animals and their handlers.

Identification: Service animals (including dogs in training programs) shall be reasonably identified to the community by harness or service animal vest or other gear when not in a private or student residence in accordance with the provision stated under Control Requirements. If there is no identification, college staff may ask the two questions below to determine if a dog is a service animal:

  1. Is this dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Staff may not ask about the individual’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Control Requirements: Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Relief Areas: Relief areas may be designated through collaboration between the Disabilities Services Office and the college grounds personnel for individuals, events, or programs.

General Rules: Service Animals are allowed in all public areas, even where food is sold or prepared and where state or local health codes generally prohibit animals on the premises. Allergies and fear of dogs are not acceptable reasons for excluding a service animal, but cooperation is essential to accommodate those with allergies or other conflicting disabilities when necessary. Individuals with allergies or conflicting concerns may be asked to show documentation of a disability to help determine appropriate accommodations. A service animal handler may not be isolated or treated less favorably than others. College staff and fellow students are not required to provide food or care for service animals.

Removal of a Service Animal:

A person with a disability, who is not able to control a dog exhibiting disruptive or unsafe behavior can be asked to remove his or her service animal. When there is a legitimate reason that a service animal must be removed, staff must offer to provide alternative services or assistance. The college may exclude/remove a service animal when:

  • the service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, (e.g. nipping, barking, growling, biting, chasing, destructive behavior, excessive foul odor).
  • the service animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the college’s program, (inhibits conduct of a program as it was designed)
  • the owner does not comply with owner’s responsibilities in college housing, the service animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the Smith community. (e.g. animal walking around unsupervised, disrupting an event, barking, whining, not using designated relief areas, destroying property or possessions, or poses a threat to health and safety [see above].)

Restricted Areas: The college may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health or safety hazards, where service animals may be endangered, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research, or fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity. Restricted locations may include, but are not limited to: research laboratories, classrooms with demonstration/research animals present, medical areas, research areas using radioactive materials or lasers, mechanical rooms or custodial closets, workshops with operating machinery, and food preparation areas. The safety of locations will be individually considered by the Director of the Office of Disability Services, the laboratory director or professor, and the college risk management team when appropriate. If a location is determined to be unsafe for the use of a service animal then alternative reasonable accommodations will be explored and provided, as appropriate, to ensure the individual equal access to the activity. Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the Office of Disability Services (ODS). The ODS will consult with the appropriate department and/or laboratory representative regarding the nature of the restricted area and ongoing research.

Appeals/Grievances: Individuals are encouraged to work with the Office of Disability Services to resolve concerns that may arise across the campus. If these concerns cannot be addressed adequately by Disability Services, an individual may submit a grievance regarding service animals to the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and Equity by submitting a written appeal letter that specifically addresses the reason for the appeal. The appeal will be reviewed and the individual will be notified in writing on the status of the case. Any employee dissatisfied with a decision concerning the use of a service animal at work is entitled to bring a grievance under the College Employee Grievance Procedures.

Any claims of discrimination on the basis of a disability or failure to provide reasonable accommodations regarding the use of a service animal on campus may be brought by any person (student, faculty, staff, and visitor) pursuant to the college’s grievance procedures.

Section 2: Animals in College Housing: Service and Support Animals

Service Animals in College Housing: Service animals, as defined by the ADA, are allowed in college housing as a modification to the college’s no pet policy. Disabled students with service animals as defined by the ADA must notify the Office of Disability Services (ODS) by June 1st for fall semester and November 1st for Spring semester of their intention to bring a service animal to campus and work with Smith’s Housing Office to identify an appropriate housing assignment. Service Animals may travel with their owner throughout college housing (and other areas of the college, except where restrictions apply for health and safety reasons). Service animals must be tethered at all times and should wear some type of identifying vest or collar.

Support Animals in College Housing: Under the Fair Housing Amendments, an individual with a documented disability may request to keep an animal for support as a reasonable accommodation in housing facilities. In order to qualify for such an accommodation, the animal must be necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use their dwelling, or to participate in the residential life program. Further, there must be a clear relationship, or nexus, between the individual’s disability and the support the animal provides. The process for application outlined below focuses on determining the need for the support of an animal and the appropriateness of the animal requested to meet this purpose. Support Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, and apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. When outside the residence, the owner of a support animal shall carry proof that the animal is an approved animal.

Section 3: Support Animal Application Process

Students requesting to have a support animal residing in college housing must do the following:

  1. The first step is for students to submit a written request to the ODS@smith.edu with a brief explanation of their disability and reason for the requested animal.
  2. Contact ODS to set up an initial in-person or phone meeting to register with Disability Services and meet with the Director to discuss the request, including discussion of alternative accommodations, that may be also be effective. Students should register with ODS well in advance of the deadlines so that all materials can be collected and submitted for review by the deadline.
  3. Complete the ODS Service and Accommodation Request form, sign a release form, including the name and contact information of their medical/mental health provider. ODS will contact the provider for medical documentation of a disability and describing the assistance a support animal would provide. The provider will need to comment on the necessity for this accommodation to the student’s ability to function in their environment. Please note: We do not accept “certificates” from paid or free online services or private organizations claiming to validate a support animal as there is no legal basis for these practices.
  4. All application materials must be submitted by June 1st for the fall semester and November 1st for the Spring Semester. Once all the requested materials are received, the Director of Disability Services will review all requests and determine whether the information or documentation sufficiently supports the need for the support of an animal. The ODS Director will either make a conditional approval or inform the student that the request was not approved.
  5. Notice of conditional approval will be submitted to the Housing Office in Residential Life in order to review any specific concerns regarding house location and other factors that must be considered.
  6. Students will be contacted by the Housing Office and required to complete housing contracts, roommate agreements, care plans, and any additional information needed by Residence Life to facilitate safe and secure placement with your animal.
  7. Residence Life will contact ODS when there are no additional concerns raised and forms are adequately completed.
  8. The student will then receive approval from the Office of Disability Services by email.
  9. Students must bring proof of licensure for a dog from the town of Northampton before moving the animal into the residence hall.
  10. To replace an approved animal, the owner must file a new request in writing to the Office of Disability Services and secure approval.

PLEASE NOTE: Only after receiving final approval from ODS can an animal be brought to campus. Bringing an animal to campus prior to receiving approval will be considered a conduct violation and may be referred to the College Conduct Board.

The owner must notify the ODS in writing if the approved animal is no longer needed for disability reasons or is no longer in residence.

Restrictions

  • Smith will not allow support animals if it would fundamentally alter the nature of the residential program or when they may pose a health risk or danger to others, such as a high escape risk, venomous animals, or in areas where allergy risk cannot be contained.
  • Support animals must be kept in student rooms and are not allowed in public areas of the house except to enter or exit the building and are not allowed in other campus buildings.
  • The college does not allow puppies, or any dog that is not completely housebroken and well behaved or cats that are not litter trained.

Section 4: Handler/Owner’s Responsibilities for all Animals in College Housing

  • The owner/handler is responsible for assuring that animals do not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for students who reside there.
  • Owners may be required to cage or remove an animal when room maintenance is required.
  • 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, etc. 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 college premises that are assessed after the student and animal vacate the residence. The college shall have the right to bill the student account of the owner for unmet obligations.
  • The owner's residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests once a semester, or as needed. The Office of Residence Life will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a college-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.
  • All roommates or suitemates of the owner must sign an agreement allowing the approved animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates does not approve, either the owner and animal or the non-approving roommates or suitemates, as determined by Residence Life and Disability Services , may be moved to a different location.
  • Service Animals may travel with their owner throughout college housing (and other areas of the college, except where restrictions apply for health and safety reasons).
  • Support Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, and apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. When outside the residence, the owner of a support animal shall carry proof that the animal is an approved animal.
  • Animals may not be left overnight in college housing to be cared for by another student and must be taken with the student if they leave campus for more than one day. Students must submit a written plan for emergency and break housing.
  • Residence Life has the right to relocate the owner and animal as necessary, according to current contractual agreements.
  • 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 this policy may result in immediate removal of the animal from the college and may be adjudicated by the College Conduct Board. The owner will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process.
    • Should the animal have to be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract, unless a waiver is granted. Alternative accommodations and support will be discussed with the student and provided as appropriate.
    • The owner undertakes to comply with health and wellbeing requirements in this policy.

    Guidelines for maintaining a Service animal/Support animal on campus

    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, or permission for a variance from the guidelines has been granted.

    Care and Supervision

    Care and supervision of the animal are the responsibility of the owner.

    •  
    • Owners are also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the animal's waste and, when appropriate, must use relief areas designated by the college, consistent with the reasonable capacity of the owner. Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a study plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in outside trash dumpsters. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto carpeted surfaces. Cages must be cleaned regularly.
    • Grooming/bathing of animals must be made off site.
    • If you need assistance to comply with these expectations, contact ODS.

    Animal Health and Well-being

    • Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations found at: www.northamptonma.gov/cityclerk/Dog_Licenses/. The 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 and documentation must be provided.
    • Health: Animals residing in college 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 college has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention.
    • Licensing: The college requires proof that the animal has been licensed. A copy of licensure should be submitted to ODS prior to bringing a dog to campus (e.g., Massachusetts law requires that every dog be licensed and provides that service dogs are exempt from the license fee.)
    • Behavior: All animals must maintain behavior that is not disruptive to others.

    Removal of Approved Animals

    A person with a disability, who is not able to control a service or support animal exhibiting disruptive or unsafe behavior may be asked to remove his or her support animal. When there is a legitimate reason that a support animal must be removed, staff must offer to provide alternative services or assistance. The college may exclude/remove an approved support animal when:

    • the support animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or
    • the support animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the college’s residential program, or
    • the owner does not comply with owner’s responsibilities in college housing, or
    • the support animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the Smith community (e.g. unsupervised/untethered walking, disrupting an event, not using designated relief areas, nipping, barking, growling, biting, chasing, destructive behavior, excessive foul odor).

    Appeals

    Students may appeal the college’s decision regarding service or support animals to the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. In all cases, a detailed, written appeal must be submitted within five (5) class days after written notification of the decision. The student must write an appeal letter that specifically addresses the reason for the appeal. The written appeal will be reviewed and the student will be notified in writing on the status of the case.

    Damage

    Owners of approved animals are solely responsible for any damage to persons or college property caused by their animals.

    (Written October 2012, updated June 2017)


Print Alternatives

There are different types of print alternatives and you must determine with us what works best. It is suggested that you become comfortable with more than one reading strategy, since print materials may not always be available in your preferred format.

Audio Books

Audio formatted books can be obtained commercially in bookstores and through websites like Audible.com and iTunes. Audio books are also available to individuals with disabilities through several sources such as Learning Ally, a subscription service for people with print disabilities.

Digital Books

Books can be obtained commercially through products and services like Kindle, Nook, and Ibooks. Textbooks can be obtained in digital formats from publishers by requests from the Office of Disability Services on your behalf. To comply with the college's digital rights management obligations, you will be required to show proof of purchase of the book in order to obtain the book from the publisher in an accessible format or obtain permission for ODS to scan the book in its entirety. You may also independently use other sources such as bookshare.org.

Scanned Electronic Materials

Books, articles or other materials can be scanned and turned into PDF, Word or other formats to be read by text-to-voice software. The college will provide support for preparing these materials for you when other sources of materials are not available. When disability services is not able to obtain your books from the publisher in digital format you will need to provide the book to us. We will cut the binding of the book for scanning, edit the book and rebind it with a simple spine.

Online Document Conversion Service

If you wish to access these materials independently or need a document converted immediately for courses or research you can send a file to our new online conversion service at www.robobraille.org/web3/smith/.

A PDF or Word file can be converted to a digital version for use with Adobe, Voice Over on Mac, etc., or you can request an MP3. The turnaround time is usually a few minutes to an hour depending on the size and quality of the document. The service will not return a good result, if the document being sent is not clean; that is, it has no underlining, highlighting, black marks on the page, etc.

Large Print

Books, articles or other materials can be enlarged to preferred font size on paper or can be scanned for enlargement using Word or other software. The college will assist in the process of enlarging materials. We also have a CCTV available in the Assistive Technology Lab in Neilson Library which enlarges print to be viewed on an attached TV screen.

Web-Based Materials

Materials on the web can be read with screen-reading software or downloaded and read with text-to-speech software.

Braille

Braille materials are available through electronic conversion of print materials to formats compatible with refreshable Braille devices or printed on Braille paper when appropriate. The college will seek out available Braille resources and provide this service to the greatest extent possible. Students will need to work closely with disability services and plan ahead.


Reading Assists

Students with disabilities such as vision impairments, learning disabilities or other disabilities that impact reading may need alternatives to standard print in order to read effectively while in college. There are many forms of assistive technology that can help, such as text-to-voice software and voice to text software. These tools are easy to use, but will take time to get comfortable learning in a different format and to develop more efficient reading and learning strategies. If you are struggling to keep up with your reading due to a disability, these alternatives can be life changing and worth the time investment.

Assistive Technology Labs

Smith maintains two assistive technology labs with assistive technology software that is available to all students. Smith's Educational Technology Services (ETS) department must train you on the software.

Commercial Reading Devices

A variety of new sources of digital reading material are becoming available as well as new devices and software with which to read them. Devices like an iPad, Kindle or Nook, and sources like Google Books, allow you to obtain mainstream media along with some classic literature.

Educational materials for these devices are still limited but are expected to grow in coming years. These devices have some accessibility features that allow you to control the font and contrast when you are reading and navigate using audible headings. Some materials on these devices are able to be read with the installed voiceover function, but be aware that not all materials available are also audible.

Text-to-Voice Software

This software reads digital PDFs, Word documents and other digital formats aloud. Low-end versions of this type of software simply read what is on the page without much other functionality. Higher-end versions often include other educational functions, such as dictionaries and thesauruses, as well as the ability to highlight, underline, bookmark and so on. You can also search and clip content into a notepad for later use. Digital materials are increasingly available through a variety of commercial and private sources. Textbooks can often be obtained from publishers, and many online scholarly journals use accessible formats. We can assist you in identifying these options.

Audio Players and Software

Recorded materials can be played with many devices, such as tape recorders and CD players. Computer software and devices like iPods can also play digital materials such as MP3s.


Service or Support Animals

Smith College is committed to ensuring equal access to the campus for disabled students, staff and faculty, as well as for guests and visitors requiring service animals. It is the college’s policy to permit service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act in most areas of the campus. The college may permit Emotional Support Animals (ESA) to reside in the residence hall with a student with a documented disability on a case-by-case basis, according to the requirements defined by the Fair Housing Act amendments.

Approval for a support animal is not guaranteed and is considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who wish to pursue this accommodation must review the policy below and schedule a meeting with the disability services director to begin the process. Approval of a support animal may take up to one month. Once you have registered with ODS, met with the director and provided appropriate medical and other information as required, you may receive a "preliminary approval". At that point, you will receive an email from the Office of Residence Life and will be asked to schedule a meeting with a residence life staff member. During this meeting, you will be required to complete a residence life service/support animal contract, which includes a roommate agreement form, an emergency plan and a school break plan. Once that process is complete, residence life will confirm this with ODS and, if there are no concerns raised, you will receive a final written approval or denial by email. Failure to submit any additional required information may result in the denial of your support animal request. Bringing an animal to campus without final written approval is considered a conduct violation.

If you have questions or concerns please contact the Office of Disability Services at ods@smith.edu.

Applications for the fall 2017 semester are now closed.

Application for spring 2018 must be complete and submitted by November 1, 2017.

Smith College is committed to assuring equal access for disabled students, staff, and faculty, as well as guests and visitors to the campus. It is the college’s policy to permit service animals as defined by state and federal Laws. The college may also permit support animals, as determined on a case by case basis by the college, to reside in the residence hall with a student with a documented disability as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Amendments.

This policy and the following requirements apply to students, visitors, guests, and temporary residents as appropriate. They are designed to assure equal access while addressing health and safety concerns, particularly in residence halls. This policy supports Smith College’s commitment to comply with state and federal laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended and related laws, rules and regulations, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. 93-112, 87 Stat. 394 (29 U.S.C. 794), as amended, and MA General Laws chapter 129, section 39F, and in adherence to the Fair Housing Amendments. Adherence to these policies and requirements by all in the Smith community is essential to support a foundation of understanding, comfort, and security that make Smith a welcoming and accessible place for all.

Section 1: Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Definition: Service animals are defined under the ADA as dogs that are trained to perform one or more specific tasks for a person with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by actively preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition. (ADA, March 15, 2011) Service animals are permitted in all public areas of campus, except where specific restrictions apply, see Restricted Areas section below. Massachusetts State law also support access to public places for service animals and their handlers.

Identification: Service animals (including dogs in training programs) shall be reasonably identified to the community by harness or service animal vest or other gear when not in a private or student residence in accordance with the provision stated under Control Requirements. If there is no identification, college staff may ask the two questions below to determine if a dog is a service animal:

  1. Is this dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Staff may not ask about the individual’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Control Requirements: Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Relief Areas: Relief areas may be designated through collaboration between the Disabilities Services Office and the college grounds personnel for individuals, events, or programs.

General Rules: Service Animals are allowed in all public areas, even where food is sold or prepared and where state or local health codes generally prohibit animals on the premises. Allergies and fear of dogs are not acceptable reasons for excluding a service animal, but cooperation is essential to accommodate those with allergies or other conflicting disabilities when necessary. Individuals with allergies or conflicting concerns may be asked to show documentation of a disability to help determine appropriate accommodations. A service animal handler may not be isolated or treated less favorably than others. College staff and fellow students are not required to provide food or care for service animals.

Removal of a Service Animal:

A person with a disability, who is not able to control a dog exhibiting disruptive or unsafe behavior can be asked to remove his or her service animal. When there is a legitimate reason that a service animal must be removed, staff must offer to provide alternative services or assistance. The college may exclude/remove a service animal when:

  • the service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, (e.g. nipping, barking, growling, biting, chasing, destructive behavior, excessive foul odor).
  • the service animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the college’s program, (inhibits conduct of a program as it was designed)
  • the owner does not comply with owner’s responsibilities in college housing, the service animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the Smith community. (e.g. animal walking around unsupervised, disrupting an event, barking, whining, not using designated relief areas, destroying property or possessions, or poses a threat to health and safety [see above].)

Restricted Areas: The college may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health or safety hazards, where service animals may be endangered, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research, or fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity. Restricted locations may include, but are not limited to: research laboratories, classrooms with demonstration/research animals present, medical areas, research areas using radioactive materials or lasers, mechanical rooms or custodial closets, workshops with operating machinery, and food preparation areas. The safety of locations will be individually considered by the Director of the Office of Disability Services, the laboratory director or professor, and the college risk management team when appropriate. If a location is determined to be unsafe for the use of a service animal then alternative reasonable accommodations will be explored and provided, as appropriate, to ensure the individual equal access to the activity. Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the Office of Disability Services (ODS). The ODS will consult with the appropriate department and/or laboratory representative regarding the nature of the restricted area and ongoing research.

Appeals/Grievances: Individuals are encouraged to work with the Office of Disability Services to resolve concerns that may arise across the campus. If these concerns cannot be addressed adequately by Disability Services, an individual may submit a grievance regarding service animals to the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and Equity by submitting a written appeal letter that specifically addresses the reason for the appeal. The appeal will be reviewed and the individual will be notified in writing on the status of the case. Any employee dissatisfied with a decision concerning the use of a service animal at work is entitled to bring a grievance under the College Employee Grievance Procedures.

Any claims of discrimination on the basis of a disability or failure to provide reasonable accommodations regarding the use of a service animal on campus may be brought by any person (student, faculty, staff, and visitor) pursuant to the college’s grievance procedures.

Section 2: Animals in College Housing: Service and Support Animals

Service Animals in College Housing: Service animals, as defined by the ADA, are allowed in college housing as a modification to the college’s no pet policy. Disabled students with service animals as defined by the ADA must notify the Office of Disability Services (ODS) by June 1st for fall semester and November 1st for Spring semester of their intention to bring a service animal to campus and work with Smith’s Housing Office to identify an appropriate housing assignment. Service Animals may travel with their owner throughout college housing (and other areas of the college, except where restrictions apply for health and safety reasons). Service animals must be tethered at all times and should wear some type of identifying vest or collar.

Support Animals in College Housing: Under the Fair Housing Amendments, an individual with a documented disability may request to keep an animal for support as a reasonable accommodation in housing facilities. In order to qualify for such an accommodation, the animal must be necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use their dwelling, or to participate in the residential life program. Further, there must be a clear relationship, or nexus, between the individual’s disability and the support the animal provides. The process for application outlined below focuses on determining the need for the support of an animal and the appropriateness of the animal requested to meet this purpose. Support Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, and apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. When outside the residence, the owner of a support animal shall carry proof that the animal is an approved animal.

Section 3: Support Animal Application Process

Students requesting to have a support animal residing in college housing must do the following:

  1. The first step is for students to submit a written request to the ODS@smith.edu with a brief explanation of their disability and reason for the requested animal.
  2. Contact ODS to set up an initial in-person or phone meeting to register with Disability Services and meet with the Director to discuss the request, including discussion of alternative accommodations, that may be also be effective. Students should register with ODS well in advance of the deadlines so that all materials can be collected and submitted for review by the deadline.
  3. Complete the ODS Service and Accommodation Request form, sign a release form, including the name and contact information of their medical/mental health provider. ODS will contact the provider for medical documentation of a disability and describing the assistance a support animal would provide. The provider will need to comment on the necessity for this accommodation to the student’s ability to function in their environment. Please note: We do not accept “certificates” from paid or free online services or private organizations claiming to validate a support animal as there is no legal basis for these practices.
  4. All application materials must be submitted by June 1st for the fall semester and November 1st for the Spring Semester. Once all the requested materials are received, the Director of Disability Services will review all requests and determine whether the information or documentation sufficiently supports the need for the support of an animal. The ODS Director will either make a conditional approval or inform the student that the request was not approved.
  5. Notice of conditional approval will be submitted to the Housing Office in Residential Life in order to review any specific concerns regarding house location and other factors that must be considered.
  6. Students will be contacted by the Housing Office and required to complete housing contracts, roommate agreements, care plans, and any additional information needed by Residence Life to facilitate safe and secure placement with your animal.
  7. Residence Life will contact ODS when there are no additional concerns raised and forms are adequately completed.
  8. The student will then receive approval from the Office of Disability Services by email.
  9. Students must bring proof of licensure for a dog from the town of Northampton before moving the animal into the residence hall.
  10. To replace an approved animal, the owner must file a new request in writing to the Office of Disability Services and secure approval.

PLEASE NOTE: Only after receiving final approval from ODS can an animal be brought to campus. Bringing an animal to campus prior to receiving approval will be considered a conduct violation and may be referred to the College Conduct Board.

The owner must notify the ODS in writing if the approved animal is no longer needed for disability reasons or is no longer in residence.

Restrictions

  • Smith will not allow support animals if it would fundamentally alter the nature of the residential program or when they may pose a health risk or danger to others, such as a high escape risk, venomous animals, or in areas where allergy risk cannot be contained.
  • Support animals must be kept in student rooms and are not allowed in public areas of the house except to enter or exit the building and are not allowed in other campus buildings.
  • The college does not allow puppies, or any dog that is not completely housebroken and well behaved or cats that are not litter trained.

Section 4: Handler/Owner’s Responsibilities for all Animals in College Housing

  • The owner/handler is responsible for assuring that animals do not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for students who reside there.
  • Owners may be required to cage or remove an animal when room maintenance is required.
  • 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, etc. 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 college premises that are assessed after the student and animal vacate the residence. The college shall have the right to bill the student account of the owner for unmet obligations.
  • The owner's residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests once a semester, or as needed. The Office of Residence Life will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a college-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.
  • All roommates or suitemates of the owner must sign an agreement allowing the approved animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates does not approve, either the owner and animal or the non-approving roommates or suitemates, as determined by Residence Life and Disability Services , may be moved to a different location.
  • Service Animals may travel with their owner throughout college housing (and other areas of the college, except where restrictions apply for health and safety reasons).
  • Support Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, and apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. When outside the residence, the owner of a support animal shall carry proof that the animal is an approved animal.
  • Animals may not be left overnight in college housing to be cared for by another student and must be taken with the student if they leave campus for more than one day. Students must submit a written plan for emergency and break housing.
  • Residence Life has the right to relocate the owner and animal as necessary, according to current contractual agreements.
  • 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 this policy may result in immediate removal of the animal from the college and may be adjudicated by the College Conduct Board. The owner will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process.
    • Should the animal have to be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract, unless a waiver is granted. Alternative accommodations and support will be discussed with the student and provided as appropriate.
    • The owner undertakes to comply with health and wellbeing requirements in this policy.

    Guidelines for maintaining a Service animal/Support animal on campus

    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, or permission for a variance from the guidelines has been granted.

    Care and Supervision

    Care and supervision of the animal are the responsibility of the owner.

    •  
    • Owners are also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the animal's waste and, when appropriate, must use relief areas designated by the college, consistent with the reasonable capacity of the owner. Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a study plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in outside trash dumpsters. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto carpeted surfaces. Cages must be cleaned regularly.
    • Grooming/bathing of animals must be made off site.
    • If you need assistance to comply with these expectations, contact ODS.

    Animal Health and Well-being

    • Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations found at: www.northamptonma.gov/cityclerk/Dog_Licenses/. The 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 and documentation must be provided.
    • Health: Animals residing in college 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 college has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention.
    • Licensing: The college requires proof that the animal has been licensed. A copy of licensure should be submitted to ODS prior to bringing a dog to campus (e.g., Massachusetts law requires that every dog be licensed and provides that service dogs are exempt from the license fee.)
    • Behavior: All animals must maintain behavior that is not disruptive to others.

    Removal of Approved Animals

    A person with a disability, who is not able to control a service or support animal exhibiting disruptive or unsafe behavior may be asked to remove his or her support animal. When there is a legitimate reason that a support animal must be removed, staff must offer to provide alternative services or assistance. The college may exclude/remove an approved support animal when:

    • the support animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or
    • the support animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the college’s residential program, or
    • the owner does not comply with owner’s responsibilities in college housing, or
    • the support animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the Smith community (e.g. unsupervised/untethered walking, disrupting an event, not using designated relief areas, nipping, barking, growling, biting, chasing, destructive behavior, excessive foul odor).

    Appeals

    Students may appeal the college’s decision regarding service or support animals to the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. In all cases, a detailed, written appeal must be submitted within five (5) class days after written notification of the decision. The student must write an appeal letter that specifically addresses the reason for the appeal. The written appeal will be reviewed and the student will be notified in writing on the status of the case.

    Damage

    Owners of approved animals are solely responsible for any damage to persons or college property caused by their animals.

    (Written October 2012, updated June 2017)

Students with service animals not living in Smith housing are encouraged to register with ODS so we may ensure you have the best possible experience on campus and to help avoid classroom conflicts with other disabled students who may have severe animal allergies.


Sign Language Requests

Requests for interpreters for meetings and one-on-one communication should be made by or on behalf of a specific deaf individual at least one week in advance whenever possible. Requests for theatrical or other performances should be made at least two weeks in advance to allow time for us to secure interpreters with these specialized skills.

Event Planners

If you are planning an event that will be open to the public, please post notice several weeks in advance with instructions about how to request an interpreter and an appropriate deadline. You can then notify us at least three weeks in advance of the date, sooner if you are planning a large event that might require several interpreters.


Studying Abroad

One of the most rewarding Smith College experiences is spending a semester or a year abroad. Attend the Study Abroad Fair at Wright Hall or find answers and valuable resources on the Study Abroad website.