The Office of Disability Services will assist students with appropriate accommodations for online courses taken through Geneseo or other institutions.  Contact ODS (tbuggieh@geneseo.edu, 585-245-5112) to request assistance.



In accordance with the State University of New York's policy on Foreign Language Students will demonstrate:

  1. Basic proficiency in the understanding and use of a foreign language.
  2. Knowledge of the distinctive features of culture(s) associated with the language they are studying,
    and with SUNY Geneseo's mission as a public liberal arts college, the college requires competency in a foreign language for all students through the 201 level.

New York State neither waives, nor allows substitutions for, the foreign language requirement for students pursuing NYS teacher certification. SUNY Geneseo supports this decision by the state and feels that it is equally important for all Geneseo students, including students who were exempted from foreign language in high school due to a disability, to develop a depth of understanding of non-English speaking peoples and their language that cannot be achieved solely through taking courses in foreign cultures.

This decision was made with due deliberation and serious consideration of the burden this may place on students, especially students with auditory or learning disabilities. We also recognize that some students with disabilities may need support in completing the requirement, and, therefore, SUNY Geneseo is willing to provide such support for students with documentation that evidences a language-based disability that may interfere with success in foreign language.

There are a number of ways for a student to satisfy the requirement. Please speak with an advisor in the Office of the Dean to further investigate the different available options.

SUNY General Education Guidelines (pdf)



SUNY Geneseo will consider reasonable housing accommodations for students with disabilities. The deadline for requesting modified housing accommodations is April 1st of each year for continuing students and July 1st for first year students (freshmen/women or transfer students) entering in the Fall semester.

The student will indicate on the housing application form his/her intent to request housing accommodations, and send documentation to the Office of Disability Services (do not send documentation to Residence Life office). Each case will be individually evaluated annually with respect to the documentation presented and the accommodations requested. In addition, a housing application must be on file with Residence Life.

When the documentation shows that a private room or other room modification is a necessary method of meeting the housing needs of a student with a disability, SUNY Geneseo will consider exceptions to its general room rate structure unless doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the housing program. In order for the student with a disability to be approved to receive a private room, he/she must provide sufficient documentation completed by a qualified professional showing the need for the modification directly related to the impact of the disability. In general, a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD or Learning Disabilities is not sufficient for obtaining a single room.



Service animals are animals trained to assist people with disabilities in the activities of normal living. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as "any" 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."

This means that:

  1. an individual must have a disability as defined by the ADA, and
  2. the accompanying animal must be trained to do specific tasks for the qualified individual.

If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or an animal training program. SUNY Geneseo complies with the ADA in allowing use of service animals for students. Pets, "comfort animals", and therapy animals are not allowed in any campus buildings under this policy.

Students desiring to use a service animal on campus should first contact Disability Services to register as a student with a disability. The Director of Disability Services will evaluate the documentation of disability and discuss with the individual any accommodations appropriate to the functional limitations of the disability.

Faculty or staff wishing to use a service animal on campus should contact the Office of Human Resources. The Director of Human Resources, in consultation with the Director of Disability Services will evaluate the disability and make any appropriate recommendations.


  • Partner/Handler: A person with a service or therapy animal. A person with a disability is called a partner; a person without a disability is called a handler.
  • Pet: A domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship. Pets are not permitted in university facilities. Permission may be granted by a professor/instructor, dean or other university administrator for a pet to be in a campus facility for a specific reason at a specific time (e.g., a pet dog is used as a demonstration tool in a class).
  • Service Animal: Any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. Service animals are usually dogs, but may be monkeys. A few other animals have been presented as service animals. A service animal is sometimes called an assistance animal.
  • Team: A person with a disability, or a handler, and her or his service animal. The twosome works as a cohesive team in accomplishing the tasks of everyday living.
  • Therapy Animal: An animal with good temperament and disposition, and who has reliable, predictable behavior, selected to visit people with disabilities or people who are experiencing the frailties of aging as a therapy tool. The animal may be incorporated as an integral part of a treatment process. A therapy animal does not assist an individual with a disability in the activities of daily living. The therapy animal does not accompany a person with a disability all the time, unlike a service animal who is always with its partner. Thus, a therapy animal is not covered by laws protecting service animals and giving rights to service animals
  • Trainee: An animal undergoing training to become a service animal. A trainee will be housebroken and fully socialized. To be fully socialized means the animal will not, except under rare occasions, bark, yip, growl or make disruptive noises; will have a good temperament and disposition; will not show fear; will not be upset or agitated when it sees another animal; and will not be aggressive. A trainee will be under the control of the handler, who may or may not have a disability. If the trainee begins to show improper behavior, the handler will act immediately to correct the animal or will remove the animal from the premises.


Vaccination: The animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have had the general maintenance vaccine series and all vaccinations deemed necessary by a licensed veterinarian must be up-to-date. Other animals must have had the appropriate vaccination series for the type of animal. Dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag.

Licensing: Partner must follow all local licensing laws and tag laws.

Health: The animal must be in good health. Animals to be housed in university housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.

Leash: The animal must be on a leash at all times.

Under Control of Partner/Handler: The partner/handler must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its partner/handler.

Cleanup Rule: The partner must follow the local ordinances in cleaning up after the animal defecates. The partner should: 1)Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the dog's feces whenever the dog and partner are off the partner's property; 2) Never allow the dog to defecate on any property, public or private (except the partner's own property), unless the partner immediately removes the waste; 3) Properly dispose of the feces by flushing or burial. Persons who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of animal feces are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance. The College is not responsible for these services.

Toileting Areas: Please consult with Facility Services/Residential Life about approved toileting areas.


  • Long-Term Handler/Partner:
    • Complete and submit the Service Animal Registration form (available from the Office of Disability Services). All service animals must be registered with Disability Services. Failure to register or maintain a service animal as required above may subject the owner/partner to fines or refusal by the College for the animal to remain on campus.
    • Provide sufficient evidence verifying that the animal meets the definition of a service animal. The animal should have tags or some other method of indicating ownership and rabies clearances. It is suggested that service animals be fitted with some identifying equipment such as a harness, cape or backpack as appropriate.
    • Provide evidence of animal training (if available) and current clean health certificates (required).
    • The care and supervision of a service animal is the sole responsibility of the partner/handler. The animal must be maintained and used at all times in ways that do not create safety hazards for other persons. Minimal equipment is a leash by which the animal is kept under control.
    • State specific plans for toileting of the animal while on campus. The College will identify suitable areas where service animals can relieve themselves.
    • Sign an authorization form allowing Disability Services to notify appropriate campus personnel/offices of the presence of the animal and any special circumstances relevant to service animal usage.
  • Office of Disability Services:
    • For short-term visitors, provide information and resources to partners/handlers of service animals concerning approved animal-relief zones and related campus policies.
    • Maintain a current registry of long-term service animals on campus.
    • Verify eligibility of individuals with disabilities to have a service animal on campus.
    • Collect and keep on file evidence of training and current health certificates.
    • Notify appropriate personnel/campus offices of the animal and handler/partner.
  • Faculty, Staff and Students:
    • Allow a service animal to accompany the handler/partner at all times and everywhere on campus. Courts have upheld the rights of service animal handlers to take service animals into food-service locations.
    • Do not pet a service animal; petting a service animal when the animal is working distracts the animal from required tasks.
    • Do not feed a service animal. The service animal may have specific dietary requirements. Unusual food or food at an unexpected time may cause the animal to become ill.
    • Do not deliberately startle a service animal.
    • Do not separate or attempt to separate a partner/handler from his or her service animal.


In the event of an emergency, the First Responders should be trained to recognize service animals and to be aware that the animal may be trying to communicate the need for help. The animal may become disoriented from the smell or smoke in a fire or laboratory emergency, from sirens or wind noise, or from shaking and moving ground. The partner and/or animal may be confused from the stressful situation. Geneseo First Response (GFR) and the local Emergency Squad should be aware that the animal is trying to be protective and, in its confusion, is not to be considered harmful. GFR should make every effort to keep the animal with its partner. However, the GFR's first effort should be toward the partner; this may necessitate leaving an animal behind in certain emergency evacuation situations.

To help ensure appropriate emergency response, this policy is being disseminated to Geneseo University Police, Geneseo First Response, Geneseo Fire Department.


Any partner dissatisfied with a decision made concerning a service animal should follow the applicable SUNY Geneseo Appeal/Grievance Procedures.