Occidental College recognizes the importance of providing reasonable housing accommodations for qualifying 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, who has been treating the student.
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. Occidental College reserves the right to request additional information, if needed to evaluate any housing accommodation request. Please be advised that a diagnosis of a medical or psychological condition does not automatically qualify the student for a housing accommodation and that in some cases, alternative reasonable accommodations (other than those requested) may be offered. The desire to have a quiet, undisturbed place to study is insufficient to warrant a housing accommodation.
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.
Process for Requesting Reasonable Housing Accommodation
Disability Services reviews housing accommodations requests. The Disability Services staff have knowledge and expertise to review documentation to determine whether the College can make a reasonable accommodation within the College-owned residential facilities, or if the student should be released from the residency requirement. All housing accommodation requests must be received by the following dates in order to process your request:
- November 1st for spring semester
- March 1st for fall semester (returning students)
- July 1st for fall semester (incoming students)
While requests submitted after these dates will be accepted and considered, we cannot guarantee that the Residential Education & Housing Services office will be able to meet applicants’ accommodation needs. If the need for the accommodation arises when a student already resides in College housing, students should follow the process below as soon as possible.
Students requesting reasonable housing accommodations must follow the outlined steps below:
- Student must complete the Disability Accommodation Request Form. Within the request, a student is to include a statement identifying the rationale for the requested accommodation(s). The statement should include specific information about how the student’s documented condition is directly related to their inability to live in a traditional residential community.
- Documentation should be attached to the Accommodation Request Form above. Student should share the Housing Accommodation Guideline with their provider to ensure all required information is included.
- 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.
Denial of Accommodation & Appeal Process
- 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.
- All appeals must be made in writing, following the Student Disability Grievance/Appeal Policy and Procedure.