Service animals on campus are a rarity but growing phenomenon on college campuses today. Once used almost exclusively as guide dogs for individuals with visual impairments, today's service animals are well beyond the typical guide dog, and can include dogs assisting individuals with everything from peanut sensitivity to hearing impairments, autism and even post traumatic stress disorder. Federal laws like the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as state laws in some instances have long defined the ability of individuals with disabilities to gain entry for the service animals that assist with life's daily functions.
But what about animals used solely for emotional support? Must a college or university allow them on campus, and more importantly in light of recent high profile claims, are colleges permitted to enforce "no pet" policies in the context of college housing when a claim is made that the animal in question is needed for emotional support?
Recent Fair Housing Cases in United States
For example, recently the U.S. Justice Department sued Kent State University, its board of trustees and university officials for violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against students with disabilities in student housing. In 2010, Kent State University had not allowed a student who suffered from anxiety attacks to have a dog that was not a trained service animal in her apartment. United States of America v. Kent State University, et al, Case: 5:14-cv-01992 (9/08/14)
In another incident, in 2013, a federal lawsuit was filed against the University of Nebraska at Kearney for denying the request of a student with a psychological disability to keep a therapy dog in her university-owned apartment off campus. United States of America v. University of Nebraska At Kearney, et al., 940 F.Supp.2d 974 (D. Neb. 2013).
This case signaled a shift in how institutions were expected to handle such accommodations in the future. With updated guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in April 2013, and several high profile enforcement actions by HUD against colleges, the debate over the applicability of the Fair Housing Act's (FHA's) requirements has moved to center stage in terms of litigation risk, and campus administrators must educate themselves accordingly.
In this LIVE webinar, expert speaker Deborah C.Brown will review the existing legal requirements for animals in housing under the FHA, the recent efforts to apply the FHA to student housing, and how to make sense of these new developments.
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Who should attend
Deborah C. Brown
Deborah C. Brown is a graduate of Florida State University (B.A.) and Stetson University, College of Law (J.D.). She began her career as a hearing officer/staff attorney with the Public Employees Relations Commission. Mrs. Brown joined the firm of Thompson, Sizemore & Gonzalez in 1989, where she represented employe... More info