Housing Accommodations

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. 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. 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)

Outside of the deadlines, Disability Services staff will review applications in rare circumstances. 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.

Requests for reasonable accommodation in College housing policies and practices are governed by the following requirements:

  1. A student with a disability must complete the “Disability Accommodation Request Form" (the “Request Form"), to request a reasonable accommodation. If the student requires assistance in completing the Request Form because of their disability, Disability Services will provide assistance in completing the 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. 
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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.
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, or include all information required within the form in a letter.
  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.

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.
 

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, following the Student Disability Grievance/Appeal Policy and Procedure.

 

Last updated May 2022