At their meeting on March 7, the Board of Trustees approved a number of policies, bids and authorizations. In addition, the members approved a policy dealing with animals on the ECC campus. This policy will allow service animals on campus and inside the buildings, but prohibit non-service animals from entering inside the buildings.

A service animal, according to the ADA, “is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets.”

 The outcome for the students who have a pet with them in the campus buildings, for reasons other than as a service, has not been announced. An alternate opportunity does exist for students with emotional support dogs, but this only exists at residential college campuses.

“Emotional service animals are covered under fair housing” Director of Student Services Shelli Allen said, “The student would be able to keep their animal in their dorm only.”

  Unfortunately, this option is not available for students of ECC because it is a commuter campus. Overall, some students are likely surprised at the approval of this policy.

 “It’s not weird that we have a policy- what’s weird is that we never had one before,” Allen said.

 Prior to this event, authorities were unable to give direction to students who brought in their non-service dogs, or an answer for the students who did not like having dogs in the building.  It was more problematic to not have a policy because the fear or allergies of other students and the fact that the dogs might be troublesome for others.

“It’s no different than anywhere else,” Allen said.

ECC is one of the final colleges to put this policy into effect.

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