Accommodations and Services
The Office of Student Disability Services is required to offer accommodations to students based on their disability. Please see our list of Accommodations below. Students must request the reasonable accommodations they need each semester. Requests can be made through an interactive process between the student and an SDS staff member.
The Office of Student Disability Services also has Enhanced Services, called Project Pass, which students can choose to participate. By signing up for Project Pass (enhanced services), students are required to use all the services. Please see below for more information about Project Pass.
The SDS Office provides a quiet, distraction-free testing environment. Testing in our office also allows students to have extended time for exams. The following are guidelines to help everyone understand their part in the SDS Office testing procedure.
Scheduled exams are to be taken in our office at the same time as the class exam unless there is a conflict with the student's schedule. When a schedule conflict occurs, an arrangement will be worked out between the student and the professor in advance. This can be found on the accommodation sheet the professor signs, and an alternate time will be listed if needed. The professor can discuss this with the office if they prefer a certain time.
The Responsibilities of the Students:
- It is the responsibility of each student to notify the professor if they typically take exams in the SDS Office. The student will present the professor with an accommodation form to sign to notify the professor that they are using this service.
- The student will schedule all exams with our office at least two business days in advance. They can call, email, or leave a voicemail in order to schedule exams. We ask that students notify our office at least two business days in advance so that we can notify the professor that we need a copy of the exam.
The Responsibilities of the SDS Office:
Once a test has been scheduled by the student, the testing center supervisor will email the professor to notify him/her that we need a copy of the exam.
Exams can be delivered:
- Via the professor
- Emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Faxed to the office at 809-4339
- Picked up by a representative from the SDS Office
- The exam is sealed and locked in a filing cabinet until the time of the test.
- We do not copy any exams without the instructor's permission.
- A student worker will return the completed exam to the professor or designated person as soon as possible.
- Some students need a reader during their exam. All readers are staff members or graduate students. Undergraduate student workers are not allowed to read exams to our students nor do they work in the testing center.
- If you have more than one student taking the same exam, they will not be allowed to sit near each other.
The Responsibilities of the Professor:
- If you give pop quizzes, please notify us so we can make some type of arrangements.
- We assume that all tests are closed book, closed note exams. If you allow open book, open note exams, please let us know.
During finals week we proctor approximately 600 exams. We try to schedule these exams at least a week in advance to make sure everything runs smoothly during that hectic time. We appreciate your patience, cooperation, and assistance during this time.
The SDS Office Policy on Cheating. We have a zero tolerance policy on cheating. If we suspect a student of cheating, we will gather up all notes and testing materials and return everything to you to take the appropriate action.
How to apply for a Reasonable Housing Accommodation?
Students may apply for a reasonable housing accommodation at the same time they apply to live on campus (new applicants), or at the same time they renew their on campus housing assignment (returning residents). A reasonable housing accommodation request includes: 1) completing the Reasonable Housing Accommodation page (accessible through a student’s online housing application) and 2) providing Supporting Documentation.
- be a signed letter on professional letterhead
- be from the student’s medical or mental healthcare provider or licensed therapist
- include a diagnosis of the individual’s disability
- contain a clear description of the current impact and functional limitations resulting from the disability
- include a statement supporting the student’s specific housing accommodation
Please note that students requesting a reasonable housing accommodation for the first time must include current supporting documentation. Students renewing their housing accommodation request may be expected to submit current documentation annually. Individuals requesting a housing accommodation related to a mental/emotional disorder (anxiety, depression, etc.) must submit updated documentation annually.
Accessing the Online Housing Application:
The online housing application is accessible from a student’s myGate account. To access the housing application click on the Money Tab and find the link to the online housing application located under the heading, Housing Office.
First time applicants will be prompted to pay a $150 security deposit. Returning residents who have an active deposit on file will not be expected to pay an additional housing deposit.
Access to the Reasonable Housing Accommodation page is determined by how a student responds to the 1st Floor Housing page of their online application. From the 1st Floor Housing page students will be prompted to select one of three options from a drop down menu. Two of the three options are related to having a disability. Students may simply select the one item that is most appropriate and click save and continue at the bottom of the page. If a student selects one of the two items related to having a disability the student will be prompted to complete their Reasonable Housing Accommodation page.
Reasonable Housing Accommodation Page:
This is where a student can indicate the nature of their disability and specify the specific housing accommodation they are requesting.
Some common housing accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- an ADA accessible room/bathroom
- a private room and/or private bathroom
- an emotional support animal
- first floor housing
- a housing assignment on a quiet floor
- climate controlled room
- permission to bring an additional refrigerator
After completing all of the required fields the student will need to click save and continue at the bottom of the page. This will bring up a new page (Upload Documentation page) that will prompt the student to submit supporting documentation electronically.
Upload Documentation Page
Students will be given the option of submitting their supporting documentation in the form of an electronic attachment. Although students do have the option to upload their documentation, it is not required to submit their documentation in this manner. If a student does not have their documentation readily available in an electronic version the student may simply click on the next page number of the online housing application (located at the top of the screen), and proceed with completing the remaining pages of their application.
Supporting documentation may also be submitted directly to the Office of Student Disability Services by either the student or their medical or mental healthcare provider or licensed therapist via mail, fax or email:
Office of Student Disability Services
423 Wells Hall
Murray, KY 42071
Please note, students will need to click ‘Confirm Application’ from the final page of their online housing application to officially submit their application/reasonable housing accommodation request.
Requests for reasonable housing accommodations made after the start of any semester will need to be initiated by contacting the Office of Student Disability Services at 270-809-2018.
Service and Emotional Support Animals
What are the main differences between a service animal and an emotional support animal?
Service animals are animals that are trained to perform a specific work or task. The specific work or task that these animals are trained to perform must be directly related to the individuals disability. A common type that most people are familiar with is a seeing-eye dog; a dog that is specially trained to serve as navigation or ‘sight’ for an individual with a visual impairment. There are only two types of animals that the Americans with Disabilities Act has approved for use as a service animal (dogs or miniature horses). Service animals are not considered an accommodation; rather, they are required for accessibility purposes. Service animals are generally allowed to go wherever their owner goes (i.e. the animal may be taken to class, to an on-campus job, to the cafeteria, to the library, etc.).
Emotional support animals are not specifically trained to perform a work or task; therefore, there are some limitations associated with having an emotional support animal on campus. The Fair Housing Amendments Act influences how emotional support animals are governed, which includes on campus housing options at colleges and universities. Emotional support animals are not trained to perform a specific work or task. Although, comfort, support, companionship and being in the presence of an animal does have therapeutic benefits, it does not equate to performing a specific work or task. Since emotional support animals are not trained to perform a specific work or task and are considered an accommodation and not for accessibility purposes, the animal(s) is limited to the owner’s living space. Therefore, it is not permissible for an emotional support animal to accompany their owner to class, to an on-campus job, to the cafeteria, to the library, into a residence hall (other than the one building they have been assigned to live in while staying on campus), into another resident’s room within their assigned residence hall, etc.
Emotional support animals are typically dogs or cats, but may also include other types of animals that provide therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or emotional disability. A partial list of disabilities covered includes: anxiety, depression, bipolar/mood disorders, panic attacks, and other emotional/psychological conditions. Individuals are encouraged to converse with their counselor or therapist to determine which type of animal would be most appropriate.
How to apply for an emotional support animal?
- In-Take Appointment: Residents requesting to bring an emotional support animal to campus are required to
meet with the Associate Director of the Office of Student Disability Services. If
a student is requesting an animal support animal prior to living on campus this in-take
appointment can be completed after the semester begins (within the first two weeks
of classes). If a student currently lives on campus and initiates the request for
an emotional support animal while the semester is in progress the in-take appointment
will be the first phase of the application process. To schedule an in-take appointment
with our Associate Director please call our main office at 270-809-2018.
- Documentation: A resident requesting permission to have an emotional support animal in their on-campus
housing facility must provide appropriate documentation to the Office of Student Disability
Appropriate documentation may be mailed to the following address:
The Office of Student Disability Services
423 Wells Hall, Murray, KY 42071
Documentation may also be submitted via fax (270-809-4339), emailed (email@example.com), or may be included as an electronic attachment as part of your online housing application. Students returning to live on campus must renew their request annually and provide updated documentation every year.
- be a signed letter on professional letterhead
- be from the resident’s medical or mental healthcare provider or licensed therapist
- be from a provider or therapist who is familiar with therapeutic benefits of emotional support animals
The letter should also include:
- the provider’s or therapist’s diagnosis of the individual’s disability
- a clear description of the current impact and functional limitations resulting from the disability
- confirmation that the emotional support animal has been prescribed for treatment purposes and is necessary to help alleviate symptoms associated with the individual’s disability
- Forms: Students will also be expected to complete a Student Registration Application as well as a Request for Housing Reasonable Accommodation Form. If a student does not presently live on campus, applying for an emotional support
animal (housing accommodation) can be done at the same time a student applies for
University housing. Our Request for Housing Reasonable Accommodation Form can be accessed through the student’s online housing application. If a resident
is making the request for an emotional support animal after the semester has already
begun, and the student is already residing on campus, you are encouraged to contact
the Office of Student Disability Services (270-809-2018) to set up an in-take appointment.
A copy of the Request for Housing Reasonable Accommodation Form will be made available during this time.
Students will also be expected to complete an Emotional Support Animal Policy Form. This form will be submitted electronically. You will be sent an email with information on how to access this form from our Associate Director at the conclusion of your in-take appointment.
- Email from Roommate(s) and/or Suite-mate(s): Students will also be expected to communicate with their roommate and/or suite-mates
that they have requested to bring an animal to campus. Your roommate and/or suite-mates
will need to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating that they are OK sharing space with you and your animal. If you have
multiple roommates and/or suite-mates we will need to receive an email from each one
- Picture of Your Emotional Support Animal: Residents must also email a picture of their emotional support animal to the Office
of Student Disability Services - email@example.com.
- ADA Subcommittee of the Affirmative Action Committee: Once your application is complete your request for an emotional support animal will
be reviewed by the ADA Subcommittee of the Affirmative Action Committee. You will
be notified via email (sent to your Murray State University email account) with a
decision as soon as possible. The Housing Office will be notified of this decision
- Requirements from the Department of Housing: If your request for an emotional support animal is approved your Residence Director
and/or your Resident Advisor will contact you to review a document called Guidelines and Agreement for Maintaining an Animal in Murray State University Housing. This document outlines the responsibilities of you the owner for maintaining an
animal on campus.
The Housing Office will also notify all residents in your building to let everyone know that ‘a resident’ has been approved for an emotional support animal. You will not be singled out by name and your room number will not be disclosed. This message is intended to let all residents know that the University’s pet policy has not changed and that students would need to have a valid, medically documented reason for having an animal on campus. This email message is also intended to give students the opportunity to let the Housing Office know if they have any allergies or other concerns about living in the same building with an animal(s).
Please note that there are some areas within the residential colleges that have been deemed as animal free zones. Depending on which residence hall you live in and what type of animal you are requesting to bring to campus, a reassignment may be necessary. If a reassignment is needed, the Housing Office will communicate with you your relocation options.
You will also be expected to provide the Housing Office with proof of vaccinations for your animal. This is to ensure that your animal has a clean bill of health and is safe to reside on campus.
The Housing Office will not charge you an additional deposit (i.e. pet deposit); however, please note you would be responsible for paying for any damages that may occur as a result of something your animal may have done in your room or in your residence hall.
By law the University is required to maintain record of individuals residing on campus who have disclosed to the University (i.e. the Office of Student Disability Services or the Housing Office) that they have a disability. If your request for an emotional support animal is granted by the ADA Subcommittee of the Affirmative Action Committee, by law your name will be added to the House Bill 321 listing. This listing will remain confidential and will only be used in the event of an emergency that would require the evacuation of your residence hall. Names on the HB 321 listing will only be revealed to individuals who have been trained to respond to emergency situations (i.e. the Housing Department staff and both campus and community emergency personal).
- Communicating with both the Office of Student Disability Services and the Housing
You will need to contact both the Office of Student Disability Services and the Housing Office:
- when you plan to bring your emotional support animal to campus
- if it is necessary to make a change to the type of animal you will have on campus
- if your ESA is no longer needed on campus
Office of Student Disability Services – Ken Ashlock (Associate Director), firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing Office – Dr. David Wilson (Director), email@example.com
Voter registration information and forms are available for individuals with disabilities at the Office of Student Disability Services, 423 Wells Hall, Murray KY 42071. Individuals with disabilities can receive assistance with completion of these forms upon request.
Voter registration is also available online for the Commonwealth of Kentucky at:
And National voter registration information can be found at:
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