Housing Accommodation Policy

Occidental College recognizes the importance of providing reasonable accommodations in its housing policies and practices where necessary for individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the College housing program.

Occidental College housing is an independent, social environment comprised of shared living space, common-access bathrooms, and a wide variation in noise level. For medical and psychological reasons, some students request consideration for a variety of nonstandard housing elements. To substantiate the need for assistance, we require clear documentation of limitations in function or performance specifically as it relates to the housing assigned. Substantiated need is constituted by a severe or chronic disabling condition that has been well-documented by an appropriate, qualified professional. The goal of Housing Services is to provide students with an equal opportunity to safe and supportive residential communities. This Policy explains the specific requirements and guidelines that govern requests for reasonable accommodation in College housing. Occidental College reserves the right to amend this policy at any time, as circumstances require.

Alternate housing requests may not be the best option for students who have concerns about their living situation. Emmons Wellness Center and the Disability Services Office have resources to assist students with communication and problem-solving skills, study habits, and communal-living tools.

Housing accommodations are reviewed and approved by Disability Services, in consultation with Residential Education and Housing Services to determine appropriate and available options.

Process for Requesting Reasonable Accommodation

Occidental College will accept and consider requests for reasonable accommodation in College housing at any time. Requests for reasonable accommodation in College housing policies and practices are governed by the following requirements:

  1. An individual with a disability must complete the “Disability Accommodation Request Form" (the “Request Form"), available on the Disability Services website, to request a reasonable accommodation. If the individual requires assistance in completing the Request Form because of their disability, Disability Services will provide assistance in completing the form. *Please note that the deadline to request housing accommodations for academic year 2020-21 for current students has been extended until March 31, 2020. Staff will continue to review requests that are received after this date, however accommodations cannot be guaranteed for post-deadline requests.
  1. The individual making the request for accommodation should complete the Accommodation Request Form online as soon as practicably possible before moving into College housing.  The College will make every effort to accommodate housing requests made within 60 days before the individual intends to move into College housing, based on availability. If the request for accommodation is made fewer than 60 days before the individual intends to move into College housing, Occidental College cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs during the first semester of occupancy.
  1. If the need for the accommodation arises when a student already resides in College housing, they should contact Disability Services and complete the Request Form as soon as practicably possible. Occidental College cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the accommodation needs during the semester or term in which the request is received, though every effort to meet the need will be made, depending on availability.
  1. Once a request for housing accommodation is received, the Disability Services Office may request a meeting with the student to discuss the request.
    Absent exceptional circumstances, the College will attempt to provide a written response to a reasonable accommodation request within fourteen (14) business days of receiving documentation described in paragraph 2 below.
     
  1. Documentation
Documentation indicating the medical condition and recommended accommodations is required by an appropriate third party and must meet Disability Services documentation guidelines and the provider must complete the Housing Accommodation Provider Form.
  1. If the documentation from a third party does not include sufficient information for Disability Services to determine whether an accommodation is necessary, the Disability Services Office will inform the student in writing of the verification’s insufficiency and may request additional information, including speaking directly with the individual supplying the third-party verification, within seven (7) business days of receiving the verification.
  1. The individual making the request for accommodation must cooperate with Disability Services in a timely manner in providing all information needed to determine reasonable accommodations. Disability Services may deny the requested accommodation if it is deemed unnecessary for access.
     
  1. Temporary vs. Permanent
Housing accommodations may be approved on a temporary basis (for a particular semester or full academic year), or permanently through the student’s time at Occidental College. This determination is made on a case-by-case basis and will be communicated to the student at the time of initial approval.

Temporary accommodations will need to be renewed each academic year or semester.
 

  1. Denial of Accommodation & Appeal Process
    1. If the individual is unwilling to accept any alternative accommodation offered by Disability Services or there are no alternative accommodations available, Disability Services will provide a verbal explanation and written notification to the individual of the denial, the reasons for the denial, the right to appeal the decision, and the procedures for that appeals process. The notification shall be in writing and made within seven (7) business days of the notification from the individual of their unwillingness to accept any of the alternative accommodations offered or the determination that there are no alternative accommodations available.
    2. All appeals must be made in writing and are reviewed either by the Dean of Students Case Management Coordinator or by an Associate Dean of Students. If the appeal is denied, the College shall provide written notification of the denial to the individual and a written explanation with all of the reasons for the denial.
    3. An individual may also use the Student Disability Grievance/Appeal Policy and Procedure.

To request special housing arrangements, students should complete the Disability Accommodation Request form.

Last updated May 2018