Housing Accommodation Requests
Housing Requests Based on Medical, Psychological, or Disability-Related Needs
Western New England University is committed to providing students who have a documented disability with a safe environment in which to live and study. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the Office of Student Disability Services of the nature of his/her disability and desire to receive a housing accommodation.
Therefore, housing accommodation requests for the 2017-2018 academic year should be submitted in writing and received by the Office of Student Disability Services prior to housing selection each academic year. Any requests that are submitted after the deadline will be reviewed on a space available basis only. Due to the changing nature of housing accommodations, students are required to renew their housing accommodation requests prior to housing selection each academic year. If a renewal is needed, students must schedule a meeting with Student Disability Services (SDS) and submit an updated housing accommodation request form in order for the accommodation to be considered. SDS may require updated medical information to support this request.
The learning environment and residential living are central to the Western New England University experience. It should be noted that living within the community and learning to share space and be considerate of others is part of that learning experience. Requests for single rooms (as an accommodation) based solely on a desire to have a "quiet, undisturbed place to study" will be granted only in very unusual circumstances. By virtue of the shared facilities, resources, and number of people living under one roof, it is not logical to assume that having a private room would provide for such quiet, distraction-free space to any appreciable degree beyond living in a standard double room. We evaluate requests for housing related accommodations carefully. Requests (submitted yearly) need to include:
- Documentation, as appropriate, of the condition or need that is the basis of the request;
- A clear description of the desired housing configuration;
- An explanation of how the request relates to the impact of the condition;
- An indication of the level of need for the recommended configuration (and the consequences of not receiving);
- Possible alternatives if the recommended configuration is not possible.
To evaluate requests based on medical, psychological or disability-related conditions accurately and equitably, Western New England University will need sufficient information to understand how the requested housing assignment relates to the current impact of the condition. For those with medically-related conditions, such documentation generally consists of an evaluation by an appropriate professional providing treatment for the condition (this professional should not be related to the student).
Documentation supporting a request will be reviewed and maintained by Student Disability Services (SDS) and discussed with Residence Life. All Information is considered confidential.
EVALUATING HOUSING REQUESTS
Housing assignments and the residential learning environment are integral parts of Western New England University programs, particularly for freshman. We evaluate all requests for need-based (disability-related) housing assignments carefully. Below is a summary of the factors we consider when evaluating housing requests. The answers to any/all of these questions may be important in our decision-making. Our goal is to provide access for all students to a safe and supportive living environment as participants in our established residence life program.
Based on the information provided by the student and the appropriate professional, SDS will evaluate requests according to the following rubric:
SEVERITY OF THE CONDITION
- Is impact of the condition life threatening if the request is not met?
- Is there a negative health impact that may be permanent if the request is not met?
- Is the request an integral component of a treatment plan for the condition in question?
- Does the request center on room adaptations necessary for safe and independent occupancy in the residence hall?
- What is the likely impact on academic performance if the request is not met?
- What is the likely impact on social development if the request is not met?
- What is the likely impact on the student's level of comfort if the request is not met?
TIMING OF THE REQUEST
- Was the request made with initial housing request?
- Was the request made before the deadline for housing requests for the semester in question?
- Was the request made as soon as possible after identifying the need (based on date of diagnosis, receipt of housing assignment, change in status, etc.)?
FEASIBILITY & AVAILABILITY
- Is space available that meets the student’s needs?
- Can space be adapted to provide the requested configuration without creating a safety hazard (electrical load, emergency egress, etc.)?
- Are there other effective methods or housing configurations that would achieve similar benefits as the requested configuration?
- How does meeting this request impact housing commitments to other students?
Once approved, the Office of Student Disability Services will work directly with the Office of Residence Life in an effort to provide a housing accommodation that is appropriate and reasonable. For more information, please contact the Office of Student Disability Services at 413-782-1258.