Service and Assistance Animals

Columbia recognizes that service and assistance animals provide individuals with disabilities enhanced autonomy and independence, and the University has established guidelines regarding having such animals on campus.

Students must first submit a Service and Assistance Animal Registration Form and disability documentation  in order for staff to determine their eligibility for this accommodation.

What Is a Service Animal?

A service animal is a dog, or in some circumstances a miniature horse, trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Columbia generally allows service animals in its buildings, classrooms, residence halls, meeting spaces, dining areas, recreation facilities, activities, and events when the animal is accompanied by the individual approved for this accommodation through Disability Services.

The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.

What Is an Assistance Animal?

An assistance animal is a dog, cat, or other domestic animal that provides emotional support and companionship. Because assistance animals do not assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living, Columbia generally allows assistance animals only in an approved student’s apartment or room in University Housing, and not in other areas of the University. Students must have authorization from Disability Services prior to bringing their assistance animal to campus.

Service and Assistance Animal Guidelines

The guidelines ensure that students with disabilities who require the use of a service or assistance animal are accommodated, and that animals are cared for in a manner that is consistent with community standards. Columbia is committed to allowing people with disabilities the use of a service animal on campus to facilitate their full-participation and equal access to University programs and activities.

Read the full guidelines.