Alternative Testing

A core expectation at MSU involves faculty control and responsibility for testing in their courses. Most students with disabilities can take their examinations in the usual manner, along with everyone else, and RCPD staff encourages them to do so. But occasionally, a student in a class will need to arrange an alternative method for taking course examinations due to a physical, sensory, or cognitive disability.

Course instructors--in collaboration with the appropriate administrative unit (College/Department/Program)--are responsible for providing testing accommodations in accordance with the RCPD VISA and in consultation with students and RCPD specialists. Students are expected to present the VISA document to faculty at the start of a semester or at least 7 days prior to the need for the accommodation and are expected to confirm alternative testing arrangements with the instructor well in advance of each separate exam thereafter.

In cases where accommodations are intensive including: time allocations exceeding 50%, cases where assistive technology is prescribed on the VISA document, or where private testing rooms are stipulated (such as when requesting a reader or scribe), RCPD has seven (7) testing spaces reserved on a priority basis to facilitate accommodation.

Given RCPD space limitations and the University's continued goal towards inclusion, students with disabilities will primarily remain in or near the classroom or department for which they are taking an exam.

For clinical and field settings, students should consult with their Ability Access Specialist and department to consider testing options. A VISA Addendum may be created to facilitate these unique situations.  

Testing Accommodations: General Information
  • Students are expected to take their exam during the regularly scheduled exam time unless this causes conflicts with other courses. In these situations, the student should proactively work with the course instructor to discuss alternative arrangements. For example: The student may start the exam earlier or later that day to avoid academic time conflicts.  

  • RCPD has limited testing space and should be considered a “back up” testing location for the times instructors are unable to accommodate. RCPD testing spaces are reserved most often for students who need assistive technology, readers, scribes, etc. Students must be “Separate Testing Eligible” to utilize RCPD testing spaces and, before requesting, should have exhausted all other options with instructors and their departments.  

  • If an exam needs to be scheduled at RCPD it is the student’s responsibility to initiate this process. Scheduling the exam through MyProfile (http://myprofile.rcpd.msu.edu) needs to be done at least 7 days in advance for semester exams and 14 days in advance for final exams. Further details about this process are outlined under the section titled “Accommodation: Separate Testing Room Eligible”.  *Tests administered at the RCPD are video monitored and require student adherence to the RCPD Alternative Testing Rules.

No matter the accommodations or testing location, students are still expected to show up on time for exams.  

  • If a student arrives late for an exam, the exam will still end at the scheduled time.  

  • If a student misses an exam or needs to reschedule, they should contact their instructor. Only instructors can authorize rescheduling of exams.  

  • If an exam is missed for non-disability related reasons, students should be held to course policies for rescheduling as determined by instructors.  

Questions about scheduling an exam with accommodations can be directed to an RCPD Specialist and/or the RCPD testing coordinator at rcpd.tests@campusad.msu.edu

Accommodation: X% Extended Test Time for In-Class and Online Exams Except Take-Home, Practical, and Clinically-Based Exams which Require Advance Planning and Special Consideration

General Information

  • Extended time applies to timed assessments (including quizzes) when requested by the student 

  • For timed online assessments, instructors should extend the assessment window in D2L or other platforms to reflect the student’s extended time.  

Student Responsibilities

  • Discuss alternative testing requests and implementation processes during your initial meeting with your instructor.  

  • Timeline: Notification from student to instructor at least 7-days before each exam and/or quiz, 14-days in advance for final exams.  

  • Check in with your instructor in advance of each exam where extended time is needed to ensure a plan is in place.  

Faculty Responsibilities 

  • Accommodate the student with extended time for assessments as written on the VISA. 

    • Even if you have planned for your exam/quiz to not take the full scheduled testing time, students’ extended time accommodations must be granted. Students should always receive their extended time when requested. 

  • If needed, consult with your department for ideas on how this may be implemented.   

  • In-class and pop-quizzes may need special planning and consideration. Students may or may not request accommodations in these situations.  

  • Facilitating extended time can be accomplished by:  

    • Student comes to class early and/or stays late to receive extended time 

    • Student takes exam in an alternate location (room organized by department/instructor, faculty office, adjacent classroom/conference room, etc.) to facilitate a longer exam. 

    • For online exam: Professor adds extended time to testing time on D2L or another platform 

 

Accommodation: Reduced Distraction Seating (Typically In-Class)

General Information

  • Students granted this accommodation will remain in the classroom and testing space but should be provided with a reduced-distraction option.  

  • An example to accommodate a reduced-distraction seating arrangement would be to allow the student to pick an ideal spot in the classroom for testing. This could be a table/seat in the front or back of the classroom, away from the door/windows, at the end of an aisle, etc. Students and instructors should work together to plan how this seat will be discreetly reserved.  

Student Responsibilities 

  • Discuss alternative testing requests and implementation processes during your initial meeting with your instructor.  

  • During the conversation with your instructor, identify where in the classroom will be most beneficial to reduce distraction during assessments.  

  • Consider pairing this accommodation with wearing ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones if you are distracted by noise. Consult your Ability Access Specialist to ask about adding this to your VISA. 

Faculty Responsibilities 

  • Have an interactive discussion with the student who is requesting reduced-distraction seating. Encourage the student to share what will work best for them during course assessments. Ideas may be: student sits in front of room, back of room, has an extra desk between them and a classmate, near a wall, away from the windows, at a personal desk, etc. 

  • If needed, save a space for the student to sit upon arrival to the course assessments  

Accommodation: Separate Testing Room Eligible (Small Group Setting Outside Main Testing Environment - May Require Private Room When a Reader/Scribe is Used or in Consultation with RCPD Specialist for Highly Unique Needs)

General Information

  • Students granted this accommodation are eligible to request a space separate from the classroom for exams. This does not automatically mean an individual space and most often means “small group” testing in a low distraction environment.  

  • If a student is using a reader, scribe, or certain assistive technology, they most often will need an individual location as to not interrupt others who are testing.  

Student Responsibilities 

  • If you plan to use a separate testing room for a course assessment, you must notify the instructor at least 7 days before each exam and/or quiz, 14 days for final exams.  

  • If other services are needed during testing (reader, scribe, technology, etc.), discuss this with your instructor. Follow the proper request process through RCPD if needed.  

  • If your instructor cannot accommodate you and you have been approved to take your exam in the RCPD office you will need to logon to MyProfile and look for the “Exam Accommodations” link at the top left of the screen. You will then be able to fill in the information for your request (course, exam date, exam time, etc.) and submit it for approval. This must be done no less than 7 days in advance (14 days for finals). 

    • Once the exam is approved you will receive a confirmation email verifying the date and time. This may take 2-4 business days from the time you submit the request. 

    • After receiving your confirmation email, you should provide your instructor with an Alternative Testing Site Authorization (ATSA) form. You only need to fill in the “student section” at the top and your instructor will fill in the rest. PDF may be downloaded from our Document Index. *The ATSA form is only necessary when you need to test at RCPD. 

    • You will be sent a reminder email 1 business day before the exam.  

  • Recommendations to Aid in Your Success

    • Do not wait until the last minute to get your exam accommodations arranged. 

    • Talk to your instructor(s) at the beginning of term – if they cannot accommodate you and you need to take your exams at the RCPD office, go through your syllabus and submit exam requests for every exam for the rest of term.  

    • Do not skip talking to your instructor and jump right to submitting exam requests with the RCPD office – we will ask you if you talked to your instructor and verify this with your instructor.  

    • Please reach out to your Ability Access Specialist or the RCPD testing coordinator (RCPD.tests@campusad.msu.edu) any time you have questions or concerns about alternative exam accommodations.  

Faculty Responsibilities 

  • Have an interactive discussion with the student who is requesting a separate testing space  

  • Arrange a space for the student(s) to take the assessment, with extended time if requested (as verified on the VISA) 

  • If a student needs to test at RCPD, assist the student in filling the Alternative Testing Site Authorization (ATSA) form and return the form with the test attached to the RCPD front desk before the testing date. You or another designated person will then pick up the exam from the RCPD front desk after the test is completed. The ATSA form is essential in cases where RCPD is proctoring a test. Tests cannot be administered without the guidance on this form. Find the ATSA form in RCPD's Document Index. *The ATSA form is only necessary when students are testing at RCPD. 

  • Ideas for Implementation: 

    • Student tests in an adjacent classroom, conference room, instructor’s office, or etc.  

    • Faculty can often work with their departments to secure spaces for RCPD testing arrangements  

Accommodation: Reader/Recorded Text, Reader Eligible, Scribe Eligible

General Information

  • A student may need to use a reader and/or scribe during course assessments. This will require an individual testing space as to not disrupt other students who are testing.  

  • Readers read assessment material out loud to the student who is taking the assessment, exactly as it is written. Readers do not provide clarifying information, definitions, or advice.  

  • Scribes write assessment answers exactly as dictated by the student taking the assessment. Scribes do not provide clarifying information, definitions, or advice. 

  • There are 3 options for facilitating a reader and/or scribe for an exam:  

    • Student tests in an individual space with a reader/scribe, both provided by the instructor

    • Student tests in an individual space provided by the instructor and student arranges a reader/scribe from RCPD to meet them at the testing location  

    • Student tests at RCPD with an RCPD-provided reader/scribe 

Student Responsibilities 

  • If you plan to use a reader and/or scribe for an assessment, you must discuss this with your instructor at least 7-days before each exam and/or quiz, 14-days for final exams.  

  • If your instructor can provide a testing room but NOT a reader and/or scribe, you will need to logon to MyProfile and look for the “Exam Accommodations” link at the top left of the screen. You will then be able to fill the request for a reader and/or scribe to meet you at your testing location and submit it for approval. This must be done no less than 7 days in advance (14 days for finals). 

  • If your instructor cannot provide a room or reader/scribe, and you have been approved to take your exam at the RCPD office, you will need to logon to MyProfile and look for the “Exam Accommodations” link at the top left of the screen. You will then be able to fill in the information for your request (course, exam date, exam time, etc.) and submit it for approval. You must include the need for a reader/scribe within this request. This must be done no less than 7 days in advance (14 days for finals). Readers and proctors are provided by RCPD and not from other sources without faculty or RCPD approval. 

    • Once the exam is approved, you will receive a confirmation email verifying the date and time. This may take 2-4 business days from the time you submit the request. 

    • After receiving your confirmation email, you should provide your instructor with an Alternative Testing Site Authorization (ATSA) form – you only need to fill in the “student section” at the very top and your instructor will fill in the rest. Find the ATSA form in RCPD's Document Index

    • You will generally be sent a reminder email 1 business day before the exam.  

  • Recommendations to Aid in Your Success: 

    • Do not wait until the last minute to get your exam accommodations arranged. 

    • Talk to your instructor(s) at the start of term – if they cannot accommodate you and you need to take your exams in the RCPD office, go through your syllabus and submit exam requests for every exam for the rest of term.  

    • Do not skip talking to your instructor and jump right to submitting exam requests with the RCPD office – we will ask you if you talked to your instructor and verify this with your instructor.  

    • Please reach out to our testing coordinator (RCPD.tests@campusad.msu.edu) any time you have questions or concerns about alternative exam accommodations.  

Faculty Responsibilities 

  • Have an interactive discussion with the student who is requesting a reader and/or scribe 

  • Determine your ability to provide a reader/scribe and a space that will not disrupt other students  

  • If a student needs to request an RCPD reader/scribe to meet them at your assessment location, notify the student of the need for them to fill out the request form at MyProfile. RCPD is able to dispatch a reader or scribe to facilitate your management of the test. Please note our readers and scribes are not proctors so please ensure the test is monitored as you find appropriate.   

  • If a student needs to test at RCPD, coordinate with the student in filling the Alternative Testing Site Authorization (ATSA) form and return the form with the test attached to the RCPD front desk before the testing date. You or another designated person will then pick up the exam from the RCPD front desk after the test is completed.  Find the ATSA form in RCPD's Document Index

Accommodation: Use of Student-Supplied Ear Plugs and/or Noise Cancelling Headphones on Course Assessments. Headphones Cannot Be Linked to a Device.
  • Student can choose to provide and wear ear plugs and/or noise cancelling headphones (not connected to a device) during course quizzes and exams.  

  • Instructors and students should work together to verify that headphones are not connected to a device.  

  • Concerns regarding academic dishonesty should be referred to the Student Conduct System. The MSU Dean of Students Office offers resources and processes for handling code of conduct concerns.

Accommodation: Large Print and Braille Tests

For some students, large print or Braille versions of test material represent the most appropriate accommodations. RCPD works directly with instructors to coordinate the provision of these testing formats. Advance notice is critical for successful production of Braille or large print tests. These formats may require the use of a scribe for recording answers.

Large Print

When a student requests large print, instructors should contact RCPD to arrange delivery of the standard print exam for enlarging. In many cases, the most effective solution involves RCPD providing the instructor with a small amount of instruction on producing large print via a standard copy machine or laser printer. In this case, the student should inform the instructor about the specifics of an effective enlargement.

Braille 

If a student needs Braille for a test, RCPD will work directly with instructors to arrange production. In most cases, Braille testing also involves a need for the student to schedule a scribe for recording answers. 

Faculty & Departmental Resources

The RCPD upholds a mission to lead MSU in maximizing ability and opportunity for full participation by persons with disabilities. Staff at the RCPD are available to provide campus departments and faculty with information, resources, and guidance to help with their understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities under disability-related legislation.

RCPD determined accommodations are intended to provide equal access as required by law; they should not fundamentally alter the course/program or create an undue financial or administrative burden to the faculty or university. As disabilities are individualized and may produce different impacts or needs for accommodation in different settings, the services and accommodations may vary slightly in some situations or change over time. Faculty members are encouraged to work collaboratively with the student and seek support from RCPD.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

Under both the Americans with Disabilities Act, as recently amended, and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, a reasonable accommodation is considered to be a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, or facility, which ensures that a qualified student with a disability is not excluded, segregated, or otherwise treated differently.

  • Reasonable accommodations are tailored adjustments that level the playing field.
  • Reasonable accommodations must not compromise essential functions of the course or program.
  • Reasonable accommodations are individually determined after review of medical documentation and an interactive needs assessment between an RCPD Ability Access Specialist and the student.

An accommodation would not be considered reasonable if it:

  • Fundamentally alters the essential nature of the course, curriculum or program
  • Constitutes services of a personal nature (such as private tutoring)
  • Results in an undue administrative or financial burden for the institution
  • Results in posing a direct threat to the health or safety of self or others
Accessibility & Technology Resources

MSU Web Accessibility

As instructional spaces and programmatic offerings are increasingly online experiences, it is vital that these offerings are designed in ways that facilitate full inclusion by people who use assistive technologies. Disabilities affect online information access in varying ways. MSU has adopted policies, resources, and guidance that help ensure accessibility. 

Assistive Listening Devices

  • Types of assistive listening devices
  • How to obtain and utilize them on campus

 

Best Practice & Disability Inclusion

VISAs - Faculty Perspective

  • Learn the appropriate process when a student presents a VISA
  • Watch the YouTube video to see an example scenario

Best Practices: Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Guidelines for professors and teaching assistants to consider when interacting with students with disabilities

Students with Disabilities - The MSU Approach for Inclusion

  • An overview of the MSU approach for inclusion of people with disabilities
  • Addresses questions frequently asked by new faculty

Tips for Interacting with People with Disabilities 

What's in a Name: Person-First Language

The Courtesy Rules of Blindness

RCPD Model Statements

Model Statements

For use in syllabi & program or event announcements

Alternative Testing Accommodation Resources

Testing Accommodations: A Message From the Provost

Just over 4% of the MSU student body registers with the RCPD after documenting a disability that affects major life activities. Approximately 70% of these students experience some requirement for modification to the typical testing experience. Many instructors erroneously interpret the VISA as evidence that testing cannot occur in their classroom or under their direct control. The Office of the Provost provides guidance on testing accommodations. 

RCPD Alternative Testing Guidelines

In alignment with the Provost's expectations for accommodated testing, RCPD provides guidance for faculty and students.

Crisis Management- Resources for People in Distress

Michigan State University and the surrounding community have numerous resources for individuals who are in crisis. You may contact a resource for yourself or another community member who you believe may need assistance.

If you are an MSU faculty/staff and have a student in crisis who you believe needs assistance, please consider the following resources. MSU RCPD does not provide 24-hour service and RCPD staff may not be able to immediately respond to communications via voicemail or email.

*Health and safety emergencies should be handled by dialing 911

MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

During business hours MSU CAPS offers walk-in and scheduled appointments. CAPS is located at Olin Health Center, 3rd floor (463 E Circle Drive). Call (517) 355-8270. In crisis? CAPS offers emergency resources for students. 

MSU Sexual Assault Program

MSU SAP provides counseling, advocacy, and support groups to MSU students.To schedule an appointment with a Counselor or Advocate, please call 517-355-3551 during regular business hours. Crisis Line: (517) 372-6666.

MySSP App

My SSP provides 24/7 access to counselors and is free and confidential. In addition to one-on-one support, you have access to articles, tools, and resources that can help you succeed. 

MSU Behavioral Threat Assessment Team (BTAT)

MSU BTAT exists to facilitate a multidisciplinary, coordinated response to reports of students, employees, or other individuals on campus who have engaged in behavior indicating a possible threat of harm to self or other members of the campus community.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

MSU EAP is a confidential counseling service provided at no cost to MSU faculty, staff, retirees, graduate student employees, and their families.

MSU Safe Place (Domestic Violence Shelter)

MSU Safe Place provides advocacy, emergency shelter, counseling, support groups, safety planning, information and referrals to survivors of violence and their minor children. All support services are free and confidential.

Disability Documentation

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, individuals with disabilities are guaranteed certain protections and rights of equal access to programs and services.

Documentation Standards

Documentation establishing the presence of a disability and explaining the nature and degree to which the disability affects major life activities including learning is essential for RCPD staff to accurately assess a condition and determine what accommodations would most effectively facilitate full participation at MSU.  Students and employees with disabilities must provide medical/psychological documentation indicating the presence of a disability that substantially limits a major life activity.

The provision of reasonable accommodations and services is based upon an assessment of the impact of the individual's disabilities on academic or job performance at a given time. Therefore, RCPD requires recent documentation relevant to the individual’s learning/living/working environment. Information regarding disability is confidential and used on an as-needed basis by Ability Access Specialists directly involved in the accommodation process.

RCPD Documentation Forms

To aid the documentation process, RCPD offers guidelines and fillable forms below to facilitate the provision of needed clarity and detail from treating professionals. Submission of these fillable forms or equivalent will speed the registration process.

Next Steps- Determining Accommodations

After documentation of a disability has been provided and a needs assessment is completed, reasonable accommodations are determined. RCPD will provide students with a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) and employees with a Statement of Employee Accommodation Determination(SEAD). The VISA and SEAD documents provide, (a) verification of disability and registration status with the RCPD (b) an outline of reasonable accommodations.

 

Review the Get Started page for additional information about registering with RCPD, accommodations, and resources.

Snow Removal

Campus Snow Information

MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities (IPF) is responsible for snow removal across campus. 

If you encounter areas on sidewalks, MSU bus stops, or pedestrian crossings where snow and ice is hazardous, please report the area using these simple ways to help the snow, ice removal process:

  • Report an area in need of snow or ice removal by filling IPF's Landscape and Grounds request form or by calling 517-353-1760, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. 
  • Use the main entrance of a building during a snow event.
  • Help us treat icy spots! Buckets of ice-melt compound can be found at entrances to most campus buildings.
  • All residence halls are responsible for clearing entrance sidewalks, ramps and curb cuts in and around the immediate area of the residence hall entrances. If you are experiencing difficulty with snow removal at a residence hall, report the problem to the residence hall facility manager. 

CATA Snow Information

For those with mobility challenges, Spec-Tran, operated by the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) may be an option to consider if large volumes of snow or ice are predicted. Pre-planning is necessary to access this service, however the addition of curb-to-curb transportation, along with the use of fixed-route service can ease travel concerns in extreme weather. 

CATA customers relying on the agency's transportation services are reminded to check the CATA website before heading out for their bus stops. In addition, riders can view Rider Alerts and sign up to receive email and/or text-message alerts. System-wide snow route detours impact 13 CATA routes. Established snow routes and bus stops can be viewed here.

CATA will also post updates about detours via social media. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Service Animal Policy

Michigan State University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities and fulfilling obligations under State and Federal law. This Policy governs the use of service animals on campus by persons with disabilities.

Policy Statement

Persons with disabilities may be accompanied by working service animals on the campus of Michigan State University consistent with the provisions of this Policy. 

Definitions

Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

Service animal: The University recognizes “Service Animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAA).  Pursuant to that law, a service animal is defined as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. 

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler's disability. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

Reasonable Modifications - Miniature Horse

Michigan State University shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability. Other requirements which apply to service animals shall also apply to miniature horses.

Assessment factors

In determining whether reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures can be made to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, Michigan State University shall consider:

  • The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features;

  • Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse;

  • Whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and

  • Whether the miniature horse's presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.

Service Animal Use on Campus

Visitors: Visitors to campus with service animals may access all public facilities, with the exception of areas where service animals are specifically prohibited due to safety or health restrictions, where the service animal may be in danger, or where the service animal’s use may compromise the integrity of research.

Employees: Employees with a disability who wish to utilize a service animal as a reasonable accommodation in a University office or other areas of campus buildings not open to the general public must register with the RCPD at least 30 days before the animal is needed.

Students: Students with a disability who wish to utilize a service animal in a classroom are encouraged but not required to register with the RCPD. Students are encouraged to register with the RCPD for access to resources, information, and advocacy around a range of disability-related dynamics, including service animals. Registration is required for any student who wishes to use a miniature horse in University facilities.

University Housing

For use of a service animal by a resident or potential resident in University housing, see: “Service/Assistance Animal Policy in University Housing.”

Service Dogs in Training

Service dogs in training are permitted on campus in all public facilities on the same basis as working service animals (see Section V above), provided that the dog is being led or accompanied by a trainer for the purpose of training the dog and the trainer has documentation confirming the trainer is affiliated with a recognized or certified service dog training organization.

Only adult dogs (twelve months of age or older) are considered service dogs in training under University policy. “Puppies in training” are not permitted in University buildings, except in accordance with Ordinance 23.00 or written permission from the Office of the Secretary of the Board of Trustees.

Service dogs in training are not permitted in classrooms, offices, or other areas of campus buildings not open to the general public, except in accordance with Ordinance 23.00 or written permission from the Office of the Secretary of the Board of Trustees.

A student or employee with a disability who wishes to utilize a service dog in training in University housing, classrooms, offices, or other areas of campus buildings not open to the general public must register with RCPD and seek approval through the reasonable accommodation process.

General Requirements

Service animals on campus must comply with all state and local licensure and vaccination requirements.

The care and supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the individual who uses the animal’s service. The individual must maintain control of the animal at all times. The individual using the animal’s service is responsible for ensuring the cleanup of all animal waste and for any damage caused by the animal. University officials and staff may designate animal toileting areas.

Clarifying Animal Status

Service animals are permitted in all public facilities on campus in accordance with this Policy. University employees should not question an individual about an accompanying service animal if the individual's disability is readily apparent and the function of the accompanying animal is clear.

In the unusual circumstance when an inquiry must be made to determine whether an animal is a service animal, a University employee may only ask two questions:

  • Whether the animal is required because of a disability
  • What work or task the animal is trained to perform

University employees shall not ask any questions about the individual's disability.

Although a service animal may sometimes be identified by an identification card, harness, cape, or backpack, such identifiers are not required and should not be requested or demanded for any service animal on campus.

Conflicting Disabilities

Individuals with medical issues impacted by animals (e.g., respiratory conditions, allergies or psychological conditions) should contact the RCPD for assistance.

Removal of Service Animals

A service animal may be removed from University facilities or grounds if disruptive (e.g., barking, wandering, displaying aggressive behavior) and the behavior is outside the duties of the service animal. Ill, unhygienic, and/or unsanitary service animals are not permitted in public campus areas. The individual responsible for such an animal may be required to remove the animal.

Restricted Areas

The University may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health or safety restrictions, where service animals may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research. Restricted locations may include, but are not limited to: research laboratories, classrooms with demonstration/research animals, medical and veterinary surgical areas, and nuclear research areas.

Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the RCPD. In making its decision, RCPD will consult with the appropriate department and/or laboratory representative regarding the nature of the restricted area and any ongoing research.

Interacting with Service Animals

Service animals work and perform tasks and are not pets. Accordingly, the RCPD recommends that members of the University community adhere to the following best practices when interacting with service animals:

  • Do not touch or feed a service animal unless invited to do so;
  • Do not deliberately distract or startle a service animal, and,
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate a service animal from the individual using the animal's service.
Emergency Situations

A handler/animal team may become stressed during emergency situations involving smoke, fire, sirens, or injury, and exhibit protective behavior. Be aware that service animals may try to communicate the need for help. In emergency situations make every effort to avoid separating the handler from the animal.

Policy Exceptions

Individuals wishing to request a modification or exception to this policy as a reasonable accommodation should contact the RCPD.

Dispute Resolution Procedure

Disputes or disagreements about a disability determination, appropriateness of an accommodation, service quality, or an animal restriction should first be raised with the RCPD specialist involved. If the matter cannot be resolved, a dispute resolution should be submitted to RCPD.

Individuals may also file a written complaint with the University’s Deputy ADA Coordinator for Grievances in the Office for Institutional Equity at 517-353-3922.  The University’s ADA/Section 504 Grievance Procedure can be found online at oie.msu.edu under the “Information on ADA/Section 504” tab.

Policy Implementation

The RCPD is responsible for implementing this policy. Success requires the cooperation of all students, staff, and faculty.

Resources
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