Disability Services

Frequently Requested Information

  1. Admission
  2. Confidentiality
  3. Academic Support
  4. Substitutions/Waivers
  5. Field Placement Positions (Internships)
  6. International Education
  7. Parking Permits/Campus Safety
  8. Library Assistance
  9. Service Animals

1. Admission

Admission in based on students ability to meet the academic standards requisite to each Willamette University program; applicants are evaluated without regard to disability. Federal law prohibits preadmission inquiry.

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2. Confidentiality

Documentation and the nature of the disability is confidential information. At no time would the documentation be shared without written consent of the student. Students are requested to sign an acknowledgment that exchange of some information may need to take place between disability services and certain staff and/or faculty in order to comply with the student needs; however, neither the specific diagnosis of the disability nor the specific nature of other confidential concerns is released. Students also have the prerogative of whether they grant permission for the Disability Service office to communicate with parents.

Please see the Selected Policies Manual, sections 4,5 and 6.

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3. Academic Support

All CLA students are eligible for individual consultations about study strategies, time management, academic expectations, and effective communication. Free tutoring is also available through Academic Support.

Mathilda (Mat) Barreiro, Learning Commons Director, can be reached at academicsupport@willamette.edu, 503-370-6505.

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4. Substitutions/Waivers

All students at Willamette University College of Liberal Arts have a foreign language and mathematics requirement. Faculty have deliberated and determined that the course of study outlined is requisite to a Bachelor of Arts degree at this University and any major changes would fundamentally alter the nature of the degree. These requirements are important to a well-rounded education and foreign language requirements promote diversity on campus. (Guckenberger vs. Trustees of Boston University).

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5. Field Placement Positions (Internships)

Students considering a practicum off campus need to discuss accommodation needs in a timely manner with the disability office and practicum supervisor. The student should request a position description that clearly identifies the essential functions of the field placement position. Accommodations become a collaborative process utilizing multiple resources.

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6. International Education

Willamette University offers study abroad and off-campus study opportunities in the form of semester and summer programs. All students are encouraged to consider participating in off campus studies and internships. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to plan early for this opportunity as host sites are not necessarily experienced in providing accommodations. It would be prudent to include the Disability Services office in the process to assist in reviewing the primary activities of the program and the overall living conditions to determine compatibility with needs.

For more information, visit International Education.

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7. Parking Permits/Campus Safety

Students holding a DMV-issued permit, may present that to the Office of Public Safety with a request to purchase an all-campus permit that will allow parking in designated disability spaces on campus. You will be ticketed if you do not have the appropriate Willamette University tag.

For more information, visit Campus Safety's section on Parking and Transportation.

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8. Library Assistance

For your convenience and to facilitate the Library Staff in serving all patrons equally, it is preferred that students requiring additional assistance schedule an appointment with the Library. Scheduling an appointment will guarantee that you obtain the assistance you need when you want it. Library Staff are available Monday- Friday. Patrons with disabilities in need of more assistance than the Library staff is able to provide should contact the Director of Disability Services.

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9. Service Animals

Service and Assistance Animal Policy 

I. Introduction

Willamette University is committed to making reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who require the use of service animals are permitted to bring such animals on campus provided they do not pose a substantial and direct threat to health or safety of others or when the presence of the animal constitutes a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program or service. The University may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on a service or assistance animal depending on the nature or characteristics of the animal. Students who wish to bring a service animal to campus are strongly encouraged to partner with Disability Services. Disability Services is responsible for administering this policy for students. For faculty and staff, Human Resources is the designated department to make appropriate arrangements.

II. Definitions

Service Animal: 

Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the functional limitations of the person’s disability. Miniature horses may be considered service animals in some cases. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals. In general, a service animal is allowed on campus anywhere it is safe for it to be, including housing. However, after consultation with the student, Willamette University may determine if there are any parameters necessary regarding where a service animal is not allowed on campus. Consideration will be given to other persons with disabilities, safety, and other factors.

Assistance Animal:

“Assistance animals,” a/k/a therapy animals, emotional support animals, or comfort animals provide assistance or emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of an individual’s disability. Some, but not all, assistance animals receive training. Assistance animals are prescribed to an individual with a disability by a healthcare professional or mental health professional. Assistance animals are an integral part of a person’s treatment process to assist in alleviating the symptoms of an individual’s disability. There must be a relationship, or nexus, between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides.  

Federal law provides that assistance animals are not service animals;do not accompany an individual at all times; and are permitted only in the individual's assigned residence and outdoor spaces under proper handling. Nonetheless, pursuant to the Willamette University Dogs on Campus policy, dogs acting as assistance animals may be brought into academic buildings when it is safe and reasonable to do so. Students with assistance dogs may choose to follow campus policies regarding dogs on campus.  

III. Policy on Service Animals

In compliance with applicable law, service animals are allowed in buildings, classrooms, residence halls, dining areas, recreational facilities, and events when the animal is accompanied by an individual with a disability who indicates the animal is trained to provide a specific service directly related to their disability.

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, the University may ask two questions:
• Is the animal required because of a disability?
• What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Students requesting a service animal in university housing must complete the Disability Services housing accommodation process.

 IV. Procedure for Requesting Assistance Animals

A person requesting an assistance animal in university housing must make a formal request through both Disability Services and Residential Services. Guidelines for student responsibilities can be accessed from Residential Services. As with all housing accommodation requests, please allow approximately 30 days to process requests.

V. Responsibilities of Individuals Using Service or Assistance Animals 

Care and Supervision: Care and supervision of the animal are the sole responsibility of the person who benefits from the animal's use. The person is required to maintain full control of the animal at all times. The person will be individually and exclusively responsible for all aspects of caring for, feeding, health, and the well-being of the animal. The person is also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the animal's waste and, when appropriate, must toilet the animal in areas designated by the University consistent with the reasonable capacity of the person.

Licensing: The animal must meet all applicable state and county licensing requirements. We reserve the right to request documentation that the animal has been licensed.

Health: The animal must be kept clean and healthy and be immunized according to Oregon law. Preventive measures should be taken at all times for flea, tick, and odor control.

Leash: Animals must be harnessed, leashed, or inside a carrier device, 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.

Damage: The owner of a service/assistance animal is solely responsible for and agrees to accept and incur any and all liability and legal damages awarded to any third party as a result of bodily injury to persons or damage to the University or another’s property beyond normal wear and tear caused by his or her service animal.

Appropriate Animal Behavior in Public Settings: The animal will not be allowed to sniff people, tables in eating areas, or the personal belongings of others; initiate contact with someone without the owner's direct permission; display any disruptive or aggressive behaviors or noises.

VI. Responsibilities of Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the University Community regarding Service Animals

Members of the University community are required to abide by the following practices:
Allow a person to have a service animal accompany him or her at all times and in all places on campus, except where animals are specifically prohibited.
• Do not inquire for details about the person's disability. The nature of a person's disability is a private matter.
• Do not pet a service animal. It distracts the animal from the task at hand and service animals may be protective.
• Do not separate or attempt to separate a person from his or her service animal.

VII. Areas Off Limits to Service Animals

Certain areas on campus are off-limits to service animals. Such areas may include but are not limited to food preparation areas, rooms with heavy machinery, custodial closets, areas where protective clothing is required, and areas that can pose a safety risk to the animal.

VIII. Exclusion of Service Animal

Consistent with federal and state law, the University may exclude or remove a service animal if the animal's behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. A service animal may also be excluded if the animal is not housebroken. If the animal is excluded or removed, the University will give the individual who uses the animal the option of returning to the University activity without the animal.

IX. Conflicting Disabilities/Medical Conditions

A student with a disability/medical condition that is affected by animals should contact Disability Services if he or she has a health or safety related concern about exposure to a service animal. For faculty and staff, the individual should contact the Office of Human Resources. The person asserting the conflicting disability/medical condition must provide appropriate medical documentation that identifies the condition(s) and the need for an accommodation. Appropriate action under federal and state law will be taken to consider the needs of all persons involved and to resolve the conflict as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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