Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals, sometimes used as part of a treatment plan, are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Individuals with a disability who can demonstrate a need for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in order to reside in University housing may apply for an ESA as a housing accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. These animals are considered a different category than service animals. In order to obtain accommodations for an ESA, students must provide documentation of a disability and the need for an ESA.
PACS does not prescribe emotional support animals and does not issue letters of support for Emotional Support Animals. We can, however, work with students who are experiencing symptoms of emotional distress or difficulty adjusting to the environment. We are available to assess and treat students using the knowledge, skills and tools we have been trained to use. We truly understand the love and connection people can have with animals, how they benefit us and many students’ desires to have one. However, at this time, we are not able to provide documentation to establish the need for ESA’s. Students can discuss the need for an ESA with their primary care physician.
Other Notes and Letters
As a policy, PACS does not provide excuses or notes for mental health concerns that may result in missed classes, labs, work, internships, exams or assignments. Students who require specific accommodations due to mental health concerns or general medical issues must be registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). SAS is the only office permitted to issue documents that allow faculty to accommodate students’ specialized needs. If you have an established history with a counselor at PACS, your counselor may be able to provide SAS with the documentation necessary to justify students’ requests for accommodations due to a mental health issue. In instances where specific accommodations may not be appropriate, we encourage students to speak directly with their professors or academic advisors regarding missed work or personal circumstances impacting class attendance. PACS clinicians do not provide notes or have direct contact with faculty or staff regarding specific students; communications about specific students generally take place through the Dean of Students.