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USciences Establishes Procedures for Service Animals in Campus Labs

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on March 3, 2020

Sampson the Service DogIn an effort to make campus more inclusive to current and future students USciences recently established procedures to allow service animals in on-campus laboratory environments. 

“This was an important step to not only establish procedures but to also educate our campus community,” said Ross Radish, Dean of Students. “Taking this step was done not simply to ensure compliance, but more importantly because it was the right thing to do for our students.” 

The procedures were part of two policies enacted by the Office of Student Accommodations, a part of Student Affairs designated to assist students with diagnosed and documented disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The office helps students with accessing and participating in the academic, emotional, social, and professional opportunities available at USciences in accordance with federal laws and University obligations. 

The Service Animal Policy and Emotional Support Animal Policy were previously in place when faculty asked about how they might apply in the laboratory. Since this was a new facet of the policy, Kaitlyn Martin, program coordinator for student accommodations, and Mark Bullock, associate dean of students, worked with faculty and a representative from the University’s Department of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety to brainstorm the areas where guidance would be needed. They consulted other universities and sought additional feedback from advocates, including Joey Ramp,  who works with her service dog, Sampson, at the Beckman Institute, to develop the policies before gaining final approval in November. 

“This is a step in the right direction as it helps to remove significant obstacles for STEM students with disabilities who have service animals,” said Martin. Although there are not currently students with service animals on campus, Martin said she hopes that this will be a valuable tool for students who attend USciences in the future.

Martin and Bullock were recently awarded the Staff Award of Merit at USciences’ 199th Founders’ Day for their work on this topic.

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