Student Access Office: Policies

Student Access Office Policies and Procedures

Policy For Reasonable Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

1.  Purpose

It is the policy of the University to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities and to afford them an equal opportunity to participate in and enjoy the benefits of University courses, programs, services, and activities.

This policy is in compliance with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as amended; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-112) and 45 C.F.R. Part 84; the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 3601 et seq.); and Missouri Title XII, Chapter 213.

2.  Scope

This policy covers individuals enrolled in in any program of study, whether matriculated or nonmatriculated.

3.  Definitions

Disability: The presence of a sensory, mental, or physical impairment (whether temporary or permanent) that:

  • Is medically cognizable or diagnosable, exists as a record or history, or is known or shown through an interactive process to exist in fact; and
  • Has a substantially limiting effect upon the student’s ability to perform and complete the essential elements of the course, program, service, or activity.

Qualified Student: A student with a disability who continuously meets essential standards of the relevant University course, program, service, or activity, with or without the benefit of reasonable accommodations.

Instructional Personnel: Includes faculty, lecturers, teaching assistants, or other individuals who are responsible for delivering the course, program, service, or activity.

Reasonable Accommodations:  Implementing academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, and/or modifying or adjusting practices, procedures, or policies so that a qualified student with a disability receives equal access to a course, program, service, or activity. Reasonable accommodations will be implemented as long as:

  • They are medically necessary (i.e., there is competent medical evidence establishing a relationship between the disability and the need for an accommodation); and
  • They do not impose an undue hardship on the University or result in a fundamental alteration to the nature or operation of the institution, program, course, service, or activity.

The University need not accept the student’s requested accommodation if an alternative reasonable accommodation is determined to be equally effective.

Health Care Professional: Health care professional means a person who is legally competent to diagnose and/or treat the particular medical or mental health condition or conditions which are the basis of the accommodation request.

Undue Hardship and Fundamental Alteration: Undue hardship means that implementing a requested reasonable accommodation would be excessively costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or result in a fundamental alteration of the nature or operation of the institution, program, service, activity, or course. In determining whether a requested reasonable accommodation poses an undue hardship or fundamental alteration, the assessment may include, but is not limited to, evaluating the impact on the overall resources, standards, or structure of the course, program, service, and/or activity. Before concluding that a particular accommodation would impose an undue hardship or a fundamental alteration, the Student Access Office will consider alternative accommodations.

4.  Accommodation Process

  1. Request for Reasonable AccommodationsA student must make a request for reasonable accommodations to the Student Access Office. In addition to traditional classroom activities, accommodations can be requested for, but are not limited to: placement exams, on-campus housing, study abroad programs, University events and activities, and clinical or internship placements.

    Requests made directly to instructional personnel, even if implemented for a particular class, are not considered a reasonable accommodation under this policy. Instead, the Student Access Office will conduct an individualized assessment of the request, determine whether an accommodation is necessary, and what reasonable accommodations are available. Instructional personnel should refer a request for a reasonable accommodation to the Student Access Office.

  2. Medical DocumentationThe Student Access Office may request that the student provide a verification and/or clarification by their health care professional of the need for the requested accommodation when the adjustments required to provide a reasonable accommodation or the reasonableness of a requested accommodation are not readily apparent. The request for verification or clarification may ask for information about the diagnosis, nature, the extent of functional limitations, impact, and duration of a disability. To authorize the University to seek verification/clarification directly from the student’s health care professional, the student will be asked to complete and submit the necessary release.

    At its own expense, the University may obtain a medical assessment or medical documentation review from a health care professional of its own choice. Examples of the kind of assessment or review the University may request include, but are not limited to:

    • Whether the student has a disability;
    • The medical necessity of requested accommodations;
    • Whether there may be equally effective alternative reasonable accommodations to those requested; and
    • Whether the student can perform particular tasks, functions, or activities with or without reasonable accommodations.
  3. Interactive ProcessThe Student Access Office will engage in an interactive process with the student to review the request(s), determine if accommodations are appropriate and necessary, and identify effective reasonable accommodations that will provide the student equitable access to University courses, programs, services, and activities. The student’s continuous participation in the interactive process is essential for it to be effective and not doing so may delay or end the process.

    Students are responsible for ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of their approved accommodations. Students with questions or concerns about their accommodations should contact the Student Access Office as soon as possible.

  4. Approval of Reasonable AccommodationsReasonable accommodations are not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement for persons with and without disabilities, but must afford students with disabilities an equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement that is provided to others.

    Following any consultation that may be needed with instructional personnel involved in the particular course, program, service, or activity, the Student Access Office makes the final determination about reasonable accommodations the University will provide to the student.

    When a reasonable accommodation request is approved by the Student Access Office, the student will be provided a digital confirmation of the approval and a process to notify instructional personnel about implementation. This document will describe approved reasonable accommodations, share information about implementation for instructional personnel, and Student Access Office contact information to seek assistance as needed.

    When reasonable accommodations are established, the Student Access Office documents their approval and discusses with the student how the accommodations will need to be activated for implementation on an individual course, program, service, or activity basis and/or term basis. The student is responsible for notifying instructional personnel of activating approved accommodations in a timely manner. The student can engage the Student Access Office, as needed, to facilitate conversations with instructional personnel about implementing activated accommodations.

    Instructional personnel are responsible for implementing approved reasonable accommodations in a timely manner. Approved accommodations may not be unilaterally denied or modified. Any concerns about implementing approved accommodations should be directed to the Student Access Office.

5.  Disability Resources for Reconsideration

Students have the right to seek reconsideration upon a denial of a requested accommodation after the interactive process has been completed.  The student also has the right to engage with any University or other grievance policies/resources at any point during the reconsideration process.

6.  Confidentiality

All documentation submitted to the Student Access Office is kept separate from academic records and is considered a student record under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). On a need to know basis, the Student Access Office may share information about an accommodation request with other University employees to assess, manage, and implement the approved accommodations. This may include information about the impacts of the medical or mental health condition, the knowledge of which is necessary to evaluate and make determinations about reasonable accommodations and the qualified status of the student.

7.  Accountability for Conduct

Students may be held accountable for conduct that violates professional standards of their academic program or the Student Conduct Code for Avila University, even if related to a disability. Once on notice that a student’s conduct may be related to a disability, the University will engage in the interactive process to evaluate possible reasonable accommodations that will assist the student in adhering to the conduct standards and requirements.

8.  Health and Safety Risk to Others

The University may decide not to permit a student to participate in or benefit from the courses, services, programs, or activities of the University when that student poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Evaluating whether a student’s participation poses a direct threat is based on an individualized assessment, and includes current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence about the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that injury or harm will occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, procedures, or the provision of academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services can mitigate the risk.

9.  Non-Retaliation

Requesting reasonable accommodations will not adversely affect a student’s opportunity to enjoy equal terms, benefits, privileges, or conditions of the University’s programs, including social or recreational activities. It is a violation of University policy to take adverse action against a student based on a student’s disability status and/or a student’s request for reasonable accommodations.

10.  Other Types of Accommodations

  • EmploymentRequests for reasonable accommodations in employment are addressed by the Human Resources Office at Avila University. This includes student employees, teaching assistants, and research assistants.  Although every effort is made to avoid duplicative assessments, differing standards apply when assessing appropriate reasonable accommodations in employment, so accommodations approved for academics may not automatically translate to employment and vice versa
  • On-Campus Housing AccommodationsStudents seeking accommodations in on-campus housing should contact the Student Access Office.
  • Service AnimalsThe Service and Emotional Support Animal policy describes University policy in regard to access for service animals in buildings or structures the University owns, operates, leases, rents, or controls. Students with service animals are encouraged but are not obligated to contact the Student Access Office in order to facilitate and record the need for and use of service animals.Students who need a service animal, assistance animal, or emotional support animal in their University housing must make a request through the Student Access Office.
  • PregnancyIn accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and relevant federal and state laws, the University will provide pregnant students with reasonable accommodations, academic adjustments, and/or auxiliary aids necessary to facilitate equitable access, as it would to other students who have temporary medical conditions. Students seeking accommodations for pregnancy-related matters should contact the Student Access Office.

11.  University Director of Student Access

The University’s Director of Student Access is available to review individual concerns relating to compliance and to provide compliance support for programs, departments, schools, and colleges relating to discrimination based on disability and providing access and reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.

12.  Grievance Process/Complaint Reporting

The Student Access Office is responsible for investigating complaints that a University employee has engaged in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or other adverse actions, including a failure to accommodate a student under this policy. Avila University’s Student Disability Grievance Procedure is available at this link.

Students who wish to file allegations of discrimination may also contact the following:

Avila University (“the University”) is committed to ensuring that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability is excluded from participation in, subjected to discrimination in connection with, or denied the benefits of any University programs or activities due to their disability. The University will take steps to prevent the recurrence of any discrimination and to correct discriminatory effects on the affected individual and others, if appropriate.

The University has adopted this internal Student Disability Grievance Procedure to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of student complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) or Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“Title III”) or otherwise alleging disability-related discrimination or harassment. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, and Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by private entities (including universities) that provide places of public accommodation. These laws and accompanying regulations may be examined in the office of the Director of Student Access (“the SAO Director”), whom the University has designated to coordinate its efforts to comply with Section 504 and Title III. The following is the SAO Director’s contact information:

Daniel Weigel, Ph.D.

Director, Student Access Office

Hodes Center, Room 119

Avila University

11901 Wornall Road

Kansas City, MO 64145

(816) 501-3606

Daniel.Weigel@Avila.edu

Who May Grieve?

Any student currently enrolled at the University may file a disability-related grievance. In addition, any student who was enrolled at the University in the 60 days immediately following the alleged misconduct (‘former student”), may file a disability-related grievance. Any current or former student (“grievant”), who believes they have been discriminated against or harassed on the basis of disability by a University employee (e.g., faculty, staff, administrator, or other agent of the University), University student, or, in certain circumstances, by a visitor to the University, may use this process to file a grievance

What May Be Grieved?

An action or decision may be grieved if it involves alleged discrimination or harassment by a University employee; University student; or, in certain circumstances, by a visitor to the University against a student on the basis of that student’s disability. Such actions may include, but are not limited to, unfavorable treatment of a student because of their disability, denial of or inappropriate implementation of reasonable accommodations, and lack of physical access to University facilities or programs. Other alleged violations of the ADA and/or Section 504 may also be grieved under this Policy, including perceived retaliation due to a pending disability discrimination complaint.

Time Limit for Filing a Grievance

A grievance may be filed at any time within the parameters outlined in this policy. However, the University strongly encourages individuals to file grievances promptly. A delay in filing a grievance may limit the University’s ability to investigate, as well as to address discrimination and its effects. Any grievance that remains open for longer than sixty (60) days, pending requested additional information from the Grievant, shall be considered closed.

Confidentiality and Prohibition Against Retaliation

The University will treat all information submitted in connection with a grievance as confidential. Subject to FERPA and other applicable privacy laws, however, the University officials investigating the grievance will inform individuals with a legitimate need to know of the grievance and may provide them related information as necessary to allow the University officials to conduct a meaningful and thorough investigation. The University officials investigating the grievance will inform all involved parties of the need to maintain the confidentiality of such information.

The University prohibits retaliation for submitting a grievance or participating in a grievance investigation. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, and adverse actions. The University officials investigating the grievance will advise all involved parties of this strict prohibition against retaliation.

Informal Grievance Procedure

The Informal Grievance Procedure is designed to facilitate a satisfactory resolution of the grievance in an informal manner. The Grievant has the option to forego the Informal Grievance Procedure and move immediately to the Formal Grievance Procedure.

A Grievant initiates the Informal Grievance Procedure by contacting the SAO Director. If the SAO Director is the subject of the grievance, the Grievant initiates the Informal Grievance Procedure by contacting the Dean of Students, who will assign an administrator in lieu of the SAO Director. The Grievant may contact the appropriate official by email, telephone, or in person. To initiate the Informal Grievance Procedure, a Grievant is not required to submit the grievance in writing, but the SAO Director/assigned administrator may ask the Grievant to do so or to submit other evidence if necessary to facilitate a satisfactory resolution.

The SAO Director/assigned administrator will attempt to expeditiously facilitate a satisfactory resolution. The SAO Director/assigned administrator may meet in person with the Grievant, confer with the individual(s) against whom the informal grievance is submitted, attempt to arrange a meeting between the Grievant and the individual(s) against whom the informal grievance is submitted, or take any other steps the SAO Director/assigned administrator believes will be useful in promoting resolution.

Within twenty-one (21) calendar days after the Grievant initially contacts the SAO Director/assigned administrator regarding the informal grievance, the SAO Director/assigned administrator will inform the Grievant and, as appropriate, the individual(s) against whom the informal grievance is submitted in writing of the outcome of the Informal Grievance Procedure. This time period may be extended if additional information is needed from the Grievant that has not been provided in a timely fashion.

Summary of steps in the Informal Grievance Procedure:

  • Informal Grievance is filed in person or in writing with the SAO Director or, when appropriate, the Dean of Students
  • Informal Grievance investigation is completed
  • If a Grievant does not provide any requested information within 60 calendar days during the conduct of an investigation, the Informal Grievance Procedure will close.
  • The outcome of Informal Grievance investigation is provided to Grievant in writing within 21 calendar days of filing (may be extended if additional information that is needed from Grievant is not received in a timely fashion)
  • If Grievant is not satisfied with result, a Formal Grievance may be filed within 14 calendar days of receipt of the Informal Grievance investigation outcome

Formal Grievance Procedure

If the Grievant is not satisfied with the resolution reached using the Informal Grievance Procedure, or if the Grievant chooses not to use the Informal Grievance Procedure, the Grievant may initiate the Formal Grievance Procedure by submitting a written complaint to the SAO Director. The Grievant may, but is not required to, use the attached Student Disability Grievance Form. If the SAO Director is the subject of the grievance, the Grievant initiates the Formal Grievance Procedure by contacting the Dean of Students who will assign an administrator in lieu of the SAO Director. A Grievant who chooses to initiate the Formal Grievance Procedure after participating in the Informal Grievance Procedure must do so within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of the SAO Director’s/assigned administrator’s written notification of the outcome of the Informal Grievance Procedure.

The written complaint must:

  • include identifying information and contact information regarding the Grievant;
  • state the form of discrimination or harassment using the categories included on the attached Student Disability Grievance Form;
  • state the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory and the date of the alleged action;
  • state how the action is discriminatory (or how the decision is unreasonable if it is a denial of a requested accommodation);
  • name the individual(s) against whom the grievance is filed;
  • state the requested remedy; and
  • be signed and dated by the Grievant.

Within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the written complaint, the SAO Director/assigned administrator will provide written notification of receipt of the complaint to the Grievant and to the individual(s) against whom the grievance is filed.

The SAO Director/assigned administrator will convene a subcommittee of at least three members of the Student Access Committee (“the Subcommittee”), not including the SAO Director/assigned administrator, to meet with the Grievant and, at a separate time, the other party or parties involved for a thorough investigation of the grievance. This investigation will afford all relevant persons an opportunity to present witnesses and submit evidence regarding the allegations. The subcommittee will provide a written summary and recommendations to the SAO Director/assigned administrator and within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the written complaint, the SAO Director/assigned administrator will provide the Grievant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed a written decision regarding the grievance. This time period may be extended if additional information is needed from the Grievant that has not been provided in a timely fashion. The decision will include findings of fact, a conclusion, and, if applicable, an explanation of remedies. If the individual against whom the complaint is filed is a student, the SAO Director/assigned administrator will, if applicable, refer the decision to the student conduct system for the determination and imposition of sanctions. If the individual against whom the complaint is filed is a member of the faculty, the SAO Director/assigned administrator will, if applicable, refer the decision to the Dean of Students for the determination and imposition of disciplinary sanctions. If the individual against whom the complaint is filed is a staff member, the SAO Director/assigned administrator will, if applicable, refer the decision to the Dean of Students or the Vice President for Enrollment Management for the determination and imposition of disciplinary sanctions.

Summary of steps in the Formal Grievance Procedure:

  • File a Formal Grievance addressing all areas on Student Disability Grievance Form or all areas identified in this section with SAO Director or, when appropriate, the Dean of Students
  • Within 7 calendar days, the Grievant will receive written notification of receipt of the Formal Grievance filing
  • Formal Grievance investigation is completed
  • If a Grievant does not provide any requested information within 60 calendar days during the conduct of an investigation, the Formal Grievance Procedure will close.
  • Outcome of Formal Grievance investigation is provided to the Grievant within 60 calendar days of filing (may be extended if additional information that is needed from Grievant is not received in a timely fashion)
  • Grievant or other individuals connected with the investigation may file an appeal of the Formal Grievance investigation outcome within 10 calendar days of receiving it.
  • The Grievant and all other individuals connected with the investigation will receive the final outcome of a Formal Grievance appeal within 21 calendar days.

Appeal

The Grievant or the individual(s) against whom the grievance is filed may appeal within 10 (ten) calendar days of receiving the SAO Director’s/assigned administrator’s written decision and/or any associated disciplinary sanctions by writing to (1) the Dean of Students, if the grievance involves an issue related to academic accommodations or alleged discrimination by a faculty member; or (2) the Dean of Students and/or the Vice President for Enrollment Management, if the grievance does not involve an issue related to academic accommodations (the “Appeals Officer”). If the individual designated to be the Appeals Officer is the subject of the grievance, the Grievant may file an appeal by submitting a written appeal to the Executive Vice President, who will assign an Appeals Officer. The written appeal must clearly set forth the grounds for the appeal and must include all supporting evidence. Generally, the Appeals Officer will limit their review of the SAO Director’s/assigned administrator’s and/or the Subcommittee’s decision in determining whether the SAO Director/assigned administrator and/or the Subcommittee considered the proper facts and whether there were any procedural irregularities. Within twenty-one (21) calendar days of receipt of the appeal, the Appeals Officer will provide the Grievant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed a written decision regarding the appeal. The decision of the Appeals Officer is final, and the University will disregard any subsequent appeals (in any form) to any University representative, including the University President.

Adjustment of Deadlines

The SAO Director/assigned administrator, the Subcommittee, or the Appeals Officer may change the above deadlines for good cause, such as semester or summer breaks or the lack of timely information from the Grievant. Likewise, if the application of time deadlines creates a hardship due to the urgency of the matter or the proximity of an event, then at the request of the Grievant, the SAO Director/assigned administrator or the Appeals Officer will determine whether an expedited procedure can be created.

Interim Measures

If necessary while any grievance investigation is ongoing, the University will take interim measures to stop discrimination and prevent its recurrence and to correct discriminatory effects on the Grievant and others. Such interim measures may include, but are not limited to, limiting interaction between the parties, arranging for the provision of temporary accommodations, or staying a course grade.

Confidentiality of Records

Once the SAO Director/assigned administrator or the Appeals Officer has made the final decision regarding the grievance, the records related to the grievance will be confidentially maintained for three years in the SAO Director’s/assigned administrator’s locked archives or electronically.

Disability Accommodations

The University will make arrangements to ensure that students with disabilities are provided appropriate accommodations as needed to participate in this Student Disability Grievance Procedure. Requests for accommodations must be made to the SAO Director, whose office is located in the Hodes Center. The SAO Director will review the supporting disability-related documentation, make a decision about the request, notify the student about the decision, and, if applicable, make arrangements for approved accommodations. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to, providing interpreters for individuals who are deaf, providing recordings of materials for individuals who are blind, and assuring a barrier-free location for the proceedings.

External Complaints

The availability and use of this Student Disability Grievance Procedure does not prevent a student from filing a complaint of disability discrimination or harassment with external agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

General Curriculum 
Course requirements for degrees granted by Avila University are designed to provide a comprehensive education in general liberal arts and in the student’s major field of study. In awarding a degree, Avila University is recognizing the satisfactory completion of a set of courses it deems representative of the academic standards it upholds. In addition, all admitted students are regarded as “otherwise qualified” to participate in any program of academic study with or without reasonable accommodations. Therefore, students with disabilities are not excused from degree requirements.

However, in some limited circumstances, the substitution of a course requirement may be determined to be a reasonable and appropriate accommodation for a student with a properly documented disability. Accommodation of this nature is considered only when it has been confirmed that the student’s disability makes the completion of the requirement impossible. Such confirmation can only be made after the student has attempted, but has been unsuccessful, at completing the course with all other appropriate accommodations in place. Consideration of a course substitution is done on a case-by-case basis.

Gaining approval for a course substitution may be a lengthy process. Therefore, it is recommended that the student initiate the request early in his or her academic career. In most cases, it will be necessary for the student to have declared a major before the request can be considered. This will allow a determination to be made as to whether or not the requested course substitution represents a fundamental alteration in the chosen field of study. The University retains the right to revoke a substitution in the event that the student changes majors and the substituted course is found to be essential to the newly declared major field of study as determined by the School/College. A determination of any course substitution will require communication between the Director of the Student Access Office, the student’s Advisor, Department Faculty, the Dean of the School/College, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The final decision regarding a course substitution will rest with the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Process
At the time of the request, a student with a disability who would like to request a course substitution as a reasonable accommodation will submit the following to the Director of the Student Access Office:

  1. Appropriate written documentation verifying a disability that substantially limits the skills required for the successful completion of the required course. Please refer to the University documentation guidelines for information as to what constitutes appropriate written documentation (available from the Director of the Student Access Office).
  2. A completed Exception to Academic Requirements and/or Policies listed in the Avila University Catalog form (available in the Office of Registration and Student Records).
  3. A written personal statement describing difficulties the student has encountered in past attempts to perform successfully within the subject area. In this statement, the student should explain how the disability has impacted these attempts.
  4. A completed Authorization to Release Information form to document written permission for the Director of the Student Access Office to share relevant disability-related information with appropriate faculty, staff, and administrative members of the University as part of the decision-making process. The Authorization to Release Information form may be obtained from the Director of the Student Access Office.

The student may also solicit documentation from the faculty person, who taught the course in question; if the student believes it will strengthen his or her case. Comments may include the faculty member’s observations about the student’s efforts in the course, whether or not the student made use of the faculty member’s office hours, whether or not the student attended tutoring sessions or study group sessions, and any accommodations that may have been utilized.

The Director of the Student Access Office will forward the above information to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will convene a meeting consisting of the Director of the Student Access Office, a representative from the Student Access Committee, a member of the faculty representing the discipline, the Dean of the College or their designee and the Vice President for Academic Affairs or their designee. The convened committee will make a recommendation to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will make the final decision. The Office of Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing of the final decision within thirty days of the committee meeting. If the exception to academic requirements or policies is not felt to be a reasonable accommodation and as a result, is denied, the student has the right to appeal the decision by following the Student Disability Grievance Procedure that is available through the Student Access Office.

Avila University — Policies and Procedures  —  Service and Emotional Support Animals

The purpose of this policies and procedures statement is to outline standards of behavior for the use of service and emotional support animals at Avila University and for students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors in the proximity of such animals. It is the intention of Avila University to meet the needs of students with disabilities in an atmosphere designed to develop their potential by providing services and programs in a supportive environment.

PETS

Pets are not allowed in any building on the Avila University campus. Pets are defined as animals kept for ordinary use and companionship that are not serving as a service or emotional support animal for an individual with a disability as defined in the following sections of this document.

SERVICE ANIMALS

Please also see the linked “Service Animals” publication from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people with visual impairments, alerting people with hearing impairments, 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 posttraumatic stress disorder during an anxiety attack, or performing other trained duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog 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 under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Only dogs are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III of the ADA. However, in some cases, a miniature horse may be considered a service animal. The U.S. Department of Justice’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether or not the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether or not the miniature horse is under the handler’s control; (3) whether or not the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether or not the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

WHERE SERVICE ANIMALS ARE ALLOWED

Please also see the linked document “Service Animals Allowed” published by the Governor’s Council on Disability.

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment. At Avila University, service animals are allowed in all areas that are open to the public or to students. Please see the next section for a possible exclusion due to potential safety issues in science laboratories.

SERVICE ANIMALS IN AVILA SCIENCE LABORATORIES

Science laboratories can create environments that can be unsafe for a service animal or can compromise a sterile environment needed to conduct research. In biological laboratories, a needs assessment must be completed for the assessment of service dogs in low-risk or high-risk environments. Service animals are generally not permitted in laboratories utilizing high-risk biological materials. Additionally, service animals are not allowed in any chemistry or physics laboratories utilizing high-risk chemical or radioactive materials.

In a science laboratory environment, only service dogs will be assessed for approval. Miniature horses are not allowed in university laboratories.

Students, faculty, or staff that require the use of a service dog in a laboratory are required to contact the Student Access Office to document the need and recommendations. The Student Access Office will assist with the completion of the assessment for the science laboratory. Service dog access can be restricted if the presence of the dog can interfere with the outcomes of the experiments or if substances may be hazardous to a dog. Access should not be denied without consultation between the student, lab and/or department faculty member, and the Student Access Office.

Service dogs assessed and approved for the university laboratory environment will not be allowed into the laboratory without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Service animals entering laboratories must be protected to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals, broken glass or other hazards that might be present in the laboratory environment. Any required PPE shall be worn by the dog and purchased by the handler and may include any or all of the following as deemed appropriate for the setting:

  • Disposable or reusable boots to cover the feet
  • Disposable lab coats
  • Eye protection
  • Disposable, plastic-backed, absorbent lab papers or pet pads for the dog to lie on during lab to protect it from hazardous materials that might be on the floor. Dog beds or fabric pads are not appropriate for use in the lab.

If appropriate PPE is not brought to the lab, the service dog will not be permitted into the laboratory.

Students may wish to visit the lab in advance of class to familiarize themselves and their dog with the layout of the lab, as well as the smells and sounds of the lab. Alternatives to positioning the service dog in the lab next to the handler must be discussed with the handler first. This could include:

Placing the dog behind a removable gate or in a pen in an adjacent room or area away from identified hazards.

If a location next to the handler is required, a location at the end of the bench or in a corner away from other students, personnel, and/or hazardous materials may be considered.

Behavior of Service Animals

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents use of these devices. In such cases, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

A service animal may be excluded from campus when the animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or if the animal’s behavior is out of the control of the handler. Infractions will be addressed on an individualized basis. Consequences may include, but are not limited to, muzzling a barking animal, refresher training for the animal and its handler, or exclusion of the animal from the university.

Statement of Liability

The owner of a service animal is liable for any damages caused by the animal. Owners must keep service animals restrained or otherwise under their control (as described above) while in use or be subject to civil liability for any damages. Although it is not a requirement, it is preferred that service animals be identifiable by their restraint method or other identifier.

Service Animal Etiquette

  • The animal must not be allowed to sniff people, food, or the belongings of others.
  • The animal must not initiate contact with others without the handler’s permission.
  • The animal must not display disruptive behaviors such as barking, whining, growling, or rubbing against people unless it was trained to alert the handler or others in this manner.
  • The animal must not block an aisle or passageway when stationary.
  • The animal must be trained not to be attracted to food that is nearby.

Public Etiquette for Interaction with a Service Animal

  • Do not touch, pet, talk to, or otherwise distract a service animal.
  • Do not offer food or water to a service animal.
  • Do not deliberately startle a service animal.
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate a service animal from its handler.
  • Do not hesitate to offer assistance by asking if you believe assistance may be helpful.

Relief Areas

Campus building map

Click here to see a larger map

Emergency Situations

In the case of an emergency, public safety and emergency personnel should be aware that there is a service animal on the premises. Therefore, at the beginning of each semester when a service animal will be accompanying a student, the student is strongly encouraged to communicate with the Student Access Office and give permission to notify Public Safety and first responders in the building(s) where the student will have classes. Public Safety and first responders will be notified when an employee who has a service animal is hired. Students and employees are advised that in an emergency, every effort will be made to keep the service animal with its handler, but it may be necessary to leave the service animal behind in certain disaster situations.

Conflicting Disabilities

It is common for persons to have a disability that precipitates an allergic reaction to animals. Persons with conflicting respiratory, allergic, or medical issues are to be directed to the Student Access Office if common sense arrangements are not satisfactory. The person making such an inquiry must show medical documentation to support such a request. To the extent possible, action will be taken to consider the needs of both the complainant and the handler to resolve the problems as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Complaints will be handled on a case by case basis.

According to ADA requirements, allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS

Avila University recognizes under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) the importance of emotional support animals (ESAs), which provide emotional support for persons with disabilities. It is important to note that animals that may be needed because of a disability may be identified by various names. For example, an individual may identify the animal as a companion animal, therapy animal, or emotional support animal. The FHAA assures that people with disabilities be allowed to have an ESA in the residence with them if the animal is necessary for individuals for the full benefit or enjoyment of participating in the university housing program. This section explains the specific requirements applicable to an individual’s use of an ESA in university housing. This policy applies solely to “Emotional Support Animals,” which may be necessary in university housing. It does not apply to Service Animals as defined by the ADA Amendments Act. Avila University reserves the right to amend this policy at any time, as circumstances require.

It is the policy of Avila University that individuals are prohibited from having animals (pets) other than fish in University housing. Avila University will consider a request by an individual with a disability for reasonable accommodation from this prohibition to allow an ESA that is necessary for an individual who experiences a disability-related, substantial limitation to housing access.

No ESA may be present in University housing at any time prior to the individual receiving an approval letter from the Student Access Office as a reasonable accommodation pursuant to this policy.

By definition, an ESA is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental health disability. An individual seeking approval for an ESA accommodation must have a verifiable disability (the reason cannot just be a need for companionship) and documentation supporting the need for the animal in conjunction with the identified disability. Although ESAs often provide therapeutic benefits to their handlers, they do not need to be individually trained or certified to perform any disability-related task. While dogs are the most common type of ESA, other animals may also serve as ESAs.

Where ESAs are Allowed

Approved ESAs at Avila University are restricted to the assigned residence hall unit of the individual except to the extent the individual takes the animal outside for exercise or relief. When taking the animal outside of the resident hall unit, the animal must be in a carrier or otherwise controlled by a leash, harness, or tether. ESAs are not permitted in any university facilities other than the residence hall unit in which the handler is assigned or to the area approved by the Avila Student Access Office for students or Human Resources for employees.

Requirements and Responsibilities of ESA Handlers

A resident with an approved ESA must abide by current city, county and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to the licensing, vaccination, leash/restraint, and other requirements of animal ownership applicable to the resident’s ESA. It is the resident’s responsibility to know and understand all applicable ordinances, laws, and regulations in addition to university policies applicable to their ESA. The university routinely requests documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws and/or regulations, which includes presentation of vaccination certificate(s), registration or licensing documentation, and general descriptive information regarding the animal. All ESAs must be fully vaccinated prior to moving into university housing.

An ESA must be properly housed and restrained or otherwise under the control of the resident handler at all times. Resident handlers must be mindful of their ESA’s interaction with other university housing occupants (e.g., controlling the ESA to avoid excessive sniffing, jumping or other unwanted contact with roommates or other individuals). No resident handler may permit an ESA to roam loosely or run at large on university property. If an ESA is found running at large, the ESA is subject to capture, confinement, and removal from university housing or university property. The resident handler is responsible for ensuring that the ESA is contained, as appropriate, when the resident is not present in the housing unit.

The resident is required to ensure their ESA is well cared for at all times. ESAs cannot be left overnight in university housing or in the care of an individual other than the identified resident handler. If the resident handler will be absent from assigned university housing overnight or for an extended period, the ESA must accompany the resident off campus. Evidence of mistreatment, abuse, neglect, extended absence, or abandonment may result in the immediate removal of an ESA and/or other consequences to the resident responsible for the care of the ESA. The resident handler is solely responsible for providing care and food for the ESA. University dining center policies prohibit the removal of food or food scraps from dining facilities for the purpose of feeding ESAs. University personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for an ESA. University personnel are not responsible for removing an ESA during an emergency evacuation for events such as fires, tornado warnings, or any related emergency drills. In the case of an evacuation, emergency responders will determine whether or not it is safe to remove an unattended ESA and shall not be held responsible for the care of, damage to, or loss of an ESA.

ESAs must be housebroken before they may be brought into university housing. The resident handler must take reasonable steps to avoid property damage caused by an ESA. The resident handler is required to clean up after and properly dispose of all solid waste created by an ESA in a safe and sanitary manner. To the extent that the ESA can be housebroken, the ESA must use designated animal relief areas (as defined herein under the heading, “Relief Areas”). The resident will be charged for any and all damages to university property caused by the ESA or additional cleaning of university property required due to the ESA (beyond reasonable wear and tear) to the same extent that other residents are charged for similar cleaning activities not related to an ESA accommodation. The owner of an ESA is liable for any damages caused by the animal. Owners must keep ESAs restrained or otherwise under their control (as described above) while in use or be subject to civil liability for any damages. Although it is not a requirement, it is preferred that ESAs be identifiable by their restraint method or other identifier.

Approved ESAs are allowed in university housing only as long as the ESA is necessary in conjunction with the resident’s disability. The resident must notify the Student Access Office if an ESA is no longer needed or is no longer occupying university housing with the resident. To replace a previously approved ESA with another animal, the resident must follow the same process used to receive initial ESA approval from the Student Access Office.

ESA approvals represent an accommodation granted through the Student Access Office for students or through Human Resources for faculty and staff. ESAs are restricted to the areas identified as part of their approved accommodations from one of these offices. Students who wish to bring their ESA to campus must apply for this type of accommodation through the Avila University Student Access Office.

ESA DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS

For approval of an ESA, reliable documentation of a disability must be provided to the Student Access Office for review (along with other required internal documentation. Documentation must be completed by a provider who is a licensed physician, psychiatrist, professional counselor, or other master’s- or doctoral-level mental health professional and must have an ongoing therapeutic relationship with the student over a period of at least three months. The provider must establish and identify that the student has a disability, the relationship to the substantial limitation of one or more major life activities the disability creates in residential housing, and the reason the ESA housing accommodation is necessary. The “ESA Provider Request for Information Form” is preferred (please contact our office for additional information), or the provider can submit documentation that includes all the information included on this form.

Avila University may consider the following factors, among others, as evidence in determining whether the presence of an ESA is reasonable or in the making of housing assignments for individuals with an ESA:

  1. If the size of the animal is too large (including necessary cage/crate and supplies) to live in the space available in the residence;
  2. If the animal’s presence would force another individual from an existing university housing assignment (e.g. serious allergies, phobias);
  3. If the animal’s presence otherwise violates individuals’ right to peace and quiet enjoyment of the residence;
  4. If the presence of the animal would fundamentally alter the nature of university housing services;
  5. If the animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;
  6. If the animal’s immunizations, health information, and/or license are not up to date (including university, state, and local requirements);
  7. If the animal poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to the safety or health of the individual or others, such as aggressive behavior towards or injuring the individual or others or potential transmission of zoonotic diseases;
  8. If the animal poses health risks from zoonotic diseases or safety concerns regarding containment that cannot be sufficiently mitigated for inclusion in the communal living setting;
  9. If the animal causes or has caused excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear;
  10. If the animal is dangerous, poisonous, oversized, and/or illegal;
  11. Any issue of non-compliance with Avila’s Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy.

Avila University will not limit room assignments for individuals with an ESA to any particular building or buildings on the basis that the individual needs an ESA or because of a verified disability.

MORE INFORMATION

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Website

www.ADA.gov

To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available, visit the ADA Website’s home page and click the link near the top of the middle column.

ADA Information Line

800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)
24 hours a day to order publications by mail.
M-W, F 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Th 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.

CONCERNS OR QUESTIONS

Persons who have concerns or questions regarding their rights pertaining to service animals or emotional support animals may contact SAO@Avila.edu or call 816-501-3606. Student grievance forms are also available in the Hodes Center or on the Student Access Office website linked here.”

Crime of impersonating a person with a disability for the purpose of receiving certain accommodations, penalty, civil liability.

Missouri Law 209.204. Any person who knowingly impersonates a person with a disability for the purpose of receiving the accommodations regarding service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 12101, et seq., is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and shall also be civilly liable for the amount of any actual damages resulting from such impersonation. Any second or subsequent violation of this section is a class B misdemeanor. For purposes of this section, “impersonates a person with a disability,” means a representation by word or action as a person with a disability or a representation of a dog by word or action as a service dog.

It is important for all individuals to take ownership of their personal safety by establishing a personal emergency plan and equipping themselves with information about emergency procedures before an emergency occurs. Individuals with disabilities should follow the general guidance contained in Avila University’s emergency procedures, as well as the specific instructions provided below. For help in creating a plan, students should contact the Student Access Office at 816-501-3606, and faculty and staff should contact the Human Resources Director at 816-501-3618. The university strongly urges all students, faculty, and staff to register for Avila University Emergency Alert Notifications to receive timely information related to campus emergency situations.

Preparing Before an Emergency

Self-Identification:

Students who have disabilities that impact their mobility (including temporary disabilities such as athletic injuries, broken bones, etc.) are responsible for informing the Student Access Office at SAO@avila.edu or 816-501-3606. The Student Access Office will provide the information to appropriate departments, such as Avila Housing and Campus Safety. In cases of an emergency, these departments can help locate and assist you. Faculty and staff are responsible for informing the Office of Human Resources of any disability-related emergency response needs.

Information should include the individual’s name, class schedule with building names and room numbers, residence hall or office location, as well as the nature of the impairment and the type of assistance needed in an emergency. The information will be stored with Campus Safety and will be given to the emergency responders as needed. The rescue of individuals with disabilities who are unable to evacuate themselves will be an initial priority for emergency responders.

Students who are wheelchair users or have mobility limitations and reside in Avila housing will be assigned a room with ground-level access to emergency exits whenever possible as long as housing personnel are notified in advance of such needs.

Students with service animals should notify the Student Access Office and Campus Safety of the presence of a service animal on the Avila campus, including class locations and meeting times, each semester. Students with emotional support animals (ESAs) must be registered with the Student Access Office prior to bringing such animals into Avila housing. Emergency preparation issues for ESAs are discussed at the time of accommodation approval through the Student Access Office.

Personal Emergency Plan:

Individuals with disabilities should work with the Student Access Office or Human Resources to develop a personal emergency plan that outlines appropriate resources and responses in the event of an emergency. The plan should include specific evacuation procedures, emergency weather procedures, sheltering procedures, and means of communication in the event of an emergency. It should also contain:

  • for each of the buildings that the individual frequents, the safest location on each floor to await assistance from emergency personnel;
  • communication tools to inform emergency personnel of the individual’s location, such as the Campus Safety 24-hour cell phone number: 816-985-6079.

Acting During an Emergency

Individuals should familiarize themselves with, and follow the guidance of, Avila University’s emergency procedures, for the appropriate response to various types of emergencies. Run, Hide, Fight, evacuation or sheltering in place are the primary responses and the University’s emergency communications will indicate which to follow in case of emergencies. Members of the campus community should be familiar with each approach so they can respond to the emergency as quickly as possible. Individuals with disabilities should follow the responses outlined in the emergency procedures but make accommodations for situations in which elevators are inaccessible, precluding evacuation.

If you need assistance, contact the Campus Safety 24-hour cell phone: 816-985-6079 to provide your location.

Evacuation:

Elevators and lifts should never be used in evacuation situations. Individuals who are unable to use the stairs to exit should ask for assistance or proceed to the nearest enclosed stairwell (one that has doors at every entrance) and wait for security staff or emergency responders to arrive. Campus Safety officers will attempt to check all areas, including restrooms, to communicate the need to evacuate. Individuals with disabilities should immediately notify the Campus Safety Office at 816-985-6079 if they are unable to evacuate as directed in an emergency situation.

Enclosed building stairwells have a higher fire-resistant rating. To aid protection, ensure the door to the stairwell is tightly closed, as open doors will allow smoke and possibly fire into the stairwell. Someone may stay with the person requiring assistance if it does not place them in additional danger and if another person is able to meet emergency responders to report the location of those in the stairwell.

Assisting Individuals with Disabilities:

In an emergency, community members should assist individuals with disabilities in the following ways:

  • Ensure that the individual is aware of the emergency. Inform hearing-impaired persons of the emergency individually; do not assume that they know what is happening by watching others.
  • Before attempting to help, always ask individuals with a disability how you can best assist them and whether there are any special considerations that should be made or items that need to come with them.
  • You may assist in evacuating individuals with disabilities if it does not place you in personal danger. Non-emergency personnel should not attempt to carry anyone down the stairs.
  • Assist visually impaired individuals by guiding them to safety.
  • Assist individuals who are unable to use the stairs by guiding them to an enclosed stairwell (one that is separated from the main building area by doors). Close the doors to the stairwell tightly and notify security of the individual’s location. You may stay with the person requiring assistance if it does not place you in additional danger and if there is another person able to meet emergency personnel to report the location of the individuals in the stairwell.

Information for Individuals with Service Animals:

Individuals with service animals are encouraged to make advance plans for the care of their animals in emergency situations. Every effort will be made to avoid separating individuals from their service animals in emergency situations.

In emergency situations, service animals are allowed to be transported with their owners/handlers as part of the evacuation procedures. Service animals are permitted to be in all places that serve the public as long as the animal is not out of control or otherwise posing a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Information for Individuals with Emotional Support Animals:

Individuals with emotional support animals (ESAs) are encouraged to make advance plans for the care of their animals in emergency situations. These issues will be discussed with the Student Access Office if such an accommodation is approved for a student at Avila.

Non-Emergency Situations

Individuals with disabilities who need assistance leaving a building in a non-emergency situation (such as an elevator or power outage) should contact the Campus Safety 24-hour cell phone number: 816-985-6079. Campus Safety will send officers to the location to assess the situation and either assist the individual or contact proper personnel for further assistance. Campus Safety officers will remain on the scene until the issue is resolved.

Important Contact Information:

Police, Fire, and Ambulance: 911 (on campus dial 9-911)

Avila University Campus Safety (emergency and non-emergency): 816-985-6079

Student Access Office: 816-501-3666

I. POLICY SUMMARY

Avila University is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals enjoy freedom from discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sex, as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Sex discrimination, which can include discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom, is prohibited and illegal in admissions, educational programs and activities, hiring, leave policies, employment policies, and health insurance coverage. Avila University hereby establishes a policy and procedures for ensuring the protection and equal treatment of pregnant students and students with pregnancy-related conditions.

II. POLICY TEXT

(1)    Scope

This policy applies to all aspects of Avila University’s student programs, including admissions, educational programs and activities, housing access, leave policies, health insurance coverage, and related healthcare resources.

(2)   Definitions

  1. Medical necessity” is a determination made by a health care provider of a student’s or employee’s choosing.
  2. Pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions” include (but are not limited to) pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, conditions arising in connection with pregnancy, and recovery from any of these conditions, in accordance with federal law.
  3. Pregnancy discrimination” includes treating a woman affected by pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition less favorably than similar individuals not so affected, and includes a failure to provide legally mandated leave or accommodations.
  4. Pregnant student” refers to the student who is or was pregnant. This policy and its pregnancy-related protections apply to all pregnant persons regardless of their gender identity or expression.
  5. Reasonable accommodations” for the purposes of this policy are changes in the academic environment or typical operations that enable a pregnant student or student with a pregnancy-related condition to continue to pursue their studies and enjoy equal benefits of the University.

(3)   Non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation of students affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions

  1. Avila University and its faculty, staff, and other employees shall not require a student to limit their studies due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
  2. The benefits and services provided to students affected by pregnancy shall be no less than those provided to students with temporary medical conditions.
  3. Students with pregnancy-related disabilities, like any other student with a disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodations so they will not be disadvantaged in their courses of study or research, and may seek assistance from the Student Access Office.
  4. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
  • accommodations requested by the pregnant student to protect the health and safety of the student and/or their pregnancy (such as allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances)
  • modifications to the physical environment (such as accessible seating)
  • mobility support
  • extending deadlines and/or allowing the student to make up tests or assignments missed for pregnancy-related absences
  • providing remote learning options if possible
  • excusing medically-necessary absences
  • granting leave
  1. Breastfeeding students must be granted reasonable time and space to pump breast milk in a location that is private, clean, and reasonably accessible. Bathroom stalls do not satisfy this requirement. Students are encouraged to review Avila University’s Lactation Policy for Students for additional information: https://www.avila.edu/avila-life/sleptiza-center-for-student-excellence/student-access-office/policies-and-procedures/

(4)   Academic Leave of Absence

  1. Faculty, staff, or other employees shall not require a student to take a leave of absence, or withdraw from or limit their studies due to pregnancy or related conditions.
  2. Pursuant to Title IX, Avila University shall treat pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions as a justification for a leave of absence for as long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by a student’s physician.
  3. A student taking a leave of absence under this policy shall provide notice to their instructors, advisor, and the chair or director of the training program in which the student is enrolled of their intent to take a leave of absence at least thirty days prior to the initiation of leave, or as soon as practicable.
  4. Intermittent leaves of absence under this policy may be taken with the advance approval of the student’s instructors, advisor, and the chair or director of the training program in which the student is enrolled or when medically necessary due to the student’s health condition.
  5. Students who elect to take a full leave of absence under this policy may pursue a medical withdrawal from any or all courses if a significant portion of the courses have been missed. Alternatively, students may petition for an incomplete grade in any of their courses if enough of the course requirements have been completed at the time of the request (determined in collaboration with each course instructor).
  6. While a student is on a leave of absence, they may continue to be eligible for certain benefits (e.g., health insurance coverage if provided through the university, access to library and Career Services resources, etc.), subject to payment of applicable fees. Students who are living on campus must contact the Dean of Students to discuss housing options if they withdraw from all courses.
  7. Upon return from leave, the student will be reinstated to their program in the same status as when the leave began. It is noted that some majors and degree programs offer certain courses on a limited basis (e.g., one time per academic year). If a student’s academic leave of absence exceeds the amount of makeup work that can be reasonably completed in a given semester, the student may be required to complete such coursework the next time the course is offered by the University without duplicative tuition or fees.
  8. Student’s who take an academic leave of absence while completing a field-based practicum or internship experience may have to wait until the start of the next regular term to recommence such activities. Students may not be able to continue their field-based experiences at the same practicum or internship site following a leave of absence (depending on the policies of the hosting site). In a case such as this, an alternative practicum or internship site may need to be identified and secured to complete field-based requirements.
  9. Continuation of the student’s scholarship or similar university-sponsored funding during the leave term will depend on the student’s registration status and the policies of the funding program regarding registration status. Students will not negatively impact or forfeit their future eligibility for their scholarship or similar university-supported funding by taking leave under this policy.

(5)   Retaliation and Harassment

  1. Harassment by any member of the Avila University community based on sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, or parental status is prohibited.
  2. Faculty, staff, and other Avila University employees are prohibited from interfering with a student taking leave, seeking reasonable accommodation, or otherwise exercising their rights under this Policy. Faculty, staff, and other Avila University employees are prohibited from retaliating against a student for exercising the rights articulated by this Policy, including imposing or threatening to impose negative educational outcomes because a student requests leave or accommodation, files a complaint, or otherwise exercises their rights under the Policy.

(6)   Freedom from Discrimination and Harassment

Avila University prohibits harassment or other discrimination against students due to pregnancy or related conditions, as a condition related to sex. Harassment or discrimination related to pregnancy or related conditions may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for appropriate action.

(7)  Compliance

  1. Reporting: Any member of the Avila University community may report a violation of this Policy to their instructor, supervisor, or the Title IX Coordinator. Supervisors are responsible for promptly forwarding such reports to the Title IX Coordinator.
  2. Grievance process:

 

Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the Director of the Student Access Office.

I. Policy Goals and Summary

Avila University has adopted this policy in support of lactating students. Avila University supports and encourages breastfeeding. Under this policy, Avila University shall provide lactating students with the accommodations necessary to ensure they have access to equal educational opportunities while also meeting their health needs.

Avila University is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals enjoy freedom from discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sex, as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Sex discrimination, which can include discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom, is prohibited and illegal in admissions, educational programs and activities, hiring, leave policies, employment policies, and health insurance coverage.

II. Policy Text

(1) Scope

This policy is applicable to all Avila University students who need to express milk during the course of their studies. This policy is intended only to apply to students while they are not performing paid work for the university. Student employees are entitled to protections of the Lactation/Breastfeeding Policy (see Section 6 of the Faculty/Staff Employee Handbook) during their work hours.

(2) Definitions

For the purposes of this policy:

  1. The terms “lactating students” is intended to include any student who expresses milk for the nourishment of a child.
  2. “Medical necessity” is a determination made by a health care provider of a student’s choosing.
  3. “Reasonable accommodations” for the purposes of this policy are changes in the academic environment or typical operations that enable a lactating student or student with a lactation-related condition to continue to pursue their studies and enjoy equal benefits of the University.
  4. “Absence” from class includes tardiness or a break for the expression of breast milk within a class period.

(3) Designated Lactation Space

  1. Avila University shall provide a clean, private space on campus that is easily accessible to students for the purposes of expressing milk. Restrooms may not be classified as designated lactation spaces.
  2. The designated lactation space shall be equipped with, at minimum:
  3. a table or other flat surface suitable to hold a breast pump;
  4. a chair; an electrical outlet; access to running water in the room or nearby.
  5. To ensure privacy within the lactation space, designated spaces will be equipped with a door lock and window coverings to block sight from the outside.

(4) Lactation Breaks

  1. Students will make reasonable efforts to pump between classes or outside of instruction time.
  2. Lactating students who must pump during a portion their class period shall inform the instructor of the need and estimated time away from class as soon as possible.
  3. Instructors are prohibited from penalizing breastfeeding students for their absence needed to express breast milk on campus.
  4. Instructors and students shall work together to identify solutions for making up in-class work or participation credits, as well as instruction missed.
  5. If problems arise, or a student must miss class for longer periods of time due to medical necessity, the student or instructor may contact the Student Access Office for assistance in establishing reasonable accommodations.

(5) Lactation Accommodations

  1. Students who need accommodations related to their lactation other than reasonable time and a clean and private place to express milk may request other reasonable accommodations by contacting the Student Access Office.
  2. Exam accommodations shall be provided as necessary and may include extending the available time period for an exam to allow for the expression of breast milk, or situating the exam room closer to a lactation space to minimize disruption.
  3. Avila University shall accommodate any lactation-related impairments as it would other temporary medical conditions.
  4. The Student Access Office will engage in an interactive process with the student and any involved faculty to ensure the student’s educational opportunities are not diminished as a result of their lactation or breastfeeding.

(6) Direct Chest/Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is permitted at any campus building or space that the lactating student and infant/child are otherwise permitted to be present. For courses with remote attendance options, students are permitted to turn off their camera and microphone as necessary for breastfeeding.

(7) Freedom from Discrimination and Harassment

Avila University prohibits harassment or other discrimination against students based on their lactation, as a condition related to sex. Harassment or discrimination related to breastfeeding and lactation may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for appropriate action.

(8) Compliance

  1. Reporting: Any member of the Avila University community may report a violation of this Policy to their instructor, supervisor, or the Title IX Coordinator. Supervisors are responsible for promptly forwarding such reports to the Title IX Coordinator.
  2. Grievance process:

Questions regarding this policy may be directed to the Director of the Student Access Office.

Contact Us

Daniel Weigel, Ph.D.

Director of Student Access Phone 816-501-3606
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