Board Policy - Animals on Campus Policy

Policy Statement 

Tompkins Cortland Community College prohibits animals inside College facilities or at any other location where the College offers courses, sponsors events, except service animals may be used by individuals with documented disabilities who require this assistance, and assistance animals may be present in College housing, as described below, to support residential students with documented disabilities who have been approved for this form of accommodation. Animals may be allowed on campus for College sponsored events with prior approval from the administration. 

The College has established this policy to foster the orderly operation of the College, the safety and well-being of students, employees, visitors and vendors, and compliance with applicable laws related to the accommodation of persons with disabilities. State and local leash laws are applicable to the College’s facilities and grounds. 


Tompkins Cortland Community College recognizes the importance of “Service Animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the broader category of “Assistance Animals” under the Fair Housing Act that provide physical and/or emotional support to individuals with disabilities. Tompkins Cortland (TC) is committed to allowing individuals with disabilities the use of a Service Animal on campus to facilitate their full-participation and equal access to the College’s programs and activities. Tompkins Cortland is also committed to allowing Assistance Animals necessary to provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy TC’s residence life program. This Policy explains the specific requirements applicable to an individual’s use of an Assistance Animal in campus housing. Tompkins Cortland reserves the right to amend this Policy as circumstances require. 


Service animal – an animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items. Service animals are allowed by law in all areas, except food preparation areas outside a student’s assigned residential unit. 

Assistance animal (also referred to as support animal) – an animal that is prescribed or otherwise documented by a healthcare or mental health professional as treatment for a disabled individual and that is beneficial in alleviating one or more identifiable symptoms or effects of that 

individual’s disability. Approved assistance animals are only permitted within the owner’s on- campus housing agreement, unless additional permission is received based on documented need for other campus facilities. 

Process and Potential Outcomes 

Students requesting the allowance of an assistance animal in the residence halls or other facilities should contact the Baker Center for Learning. Faculty, staff and visitors requesting the allowance of an assistance animal in any facility should contact Sharon Clark, Director of Human Resources. 

Acceptable documentation should verify the disability as well as describe the need for an assistance animal. 

Reports of inappropriate behaviors should be reported to Campus Police. 

Damages – If a service or assistance animal damages the assigned residence hall room or other College property, the cost of the damage will be assessed and assigned to the student’s account or billed to the faculty/staff member or visitor. The owner is responsible for insuring cleanliness and proper care and treatment of the animal and its environment. 

Removal of Approved Animals – The owner may be directed to remove an animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g. barking, jumping on people). If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be prohibited from bringing the animal into College facilities or events until the owner can demonstrate appropriate steps taken to mitigate such behavior. Any animal that exhibits aggressive (including growling) or unsafe behavior (including urinating and/or defecating in any building) may be prohibited from College facilities or events. Any violation of this guideline may result in immediate removal of the animal from the College, pending disciplinary action. 

The College may remove an authorized animal when the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, the animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the College’s program, the owner does not comply with the responsibilities outlined in this guideline, or the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the community. 

Grievance Procedures 

If the decision is made to deny a request or remove a service or assistance animal, the owner may appeal in writing. Procedures for appeal can be accessed at: Disability-Related Accommodation. 

Applicability of the Policy 

This policy applies to all College employees, students, visitors and vendors. 

Effective Date 

January 16, 2020 - Resolution 2019-2020-30