Disability Services


Emotional Support Animals or ESA's

An "emotional support animal" is an animal that provides emotional or other support that ameliorates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.  Unlike service animals, support animals are not required to be trained to perform work or tasks, and they include species other than dogs and miniature horses. 

Emotional Support Animals (ESA's) are generally not allowed to accompany persons with disabilities in all public areas of BW as a service animal is allowed to do, but an ESA animal may reside in University Housing, including accompanying such individual in all public or common use areas of University Housing, when it may be necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University Housing.  Before a support animal can move into University Housing with a person with a disability, a request (Accommodated Housing Request) must be submitted to BW's Disability Services for Students (DSS) and approval must be granted (preferably at least 30 days prior to move in).  If the disability is not obvious, DSS may require documentation from a licensed physician or mental health provider including without limitation a qualified psychiatrist, social worker or other mental health professional, to provide sufficient information for DSS to determine:

  • That the individual qualifies as a person with a disability (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities); and
  • That the support animal may be necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University Housing (i.e., that the animal would provide emotional support or other assistance that would ameliorate one or more symptoms or effects of the disability).

While support animals are generally not allowed indoors on BW's campus other than in University Housing, people with disabilities may request approval from DSS to have the support animal accompany them to other campus areas.  Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis consistent with applicable laws.  

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