Housing Accommodations Process

Housing Accommodations Process

Housing Accommodations Process

The University of Notre Dame’s Process For Students With Disabilities Requesting Reasonable Housing Accommodations


Section I.  Introduction


The residential life experience at Notre Dame is as fundamental a part of the University’s educational experience as coursework and extracurricular activities. The underpinning of this philosophy is derived from the University’s mission statement, which ​provides in part:


The University encourages a way of living consonant with a Christian community and manifest in prayer, liturgy and service. Residential life endeavors to develop that sense of community and of responsibility that prepares students for subsequent leadership in building a society that is at once more human and more divine.


Life in a residence hall is particularly distinctive because of the extraordinary formation that happens by virtue of the rich foundation and framework it offers to all students who experience it.  Living in community supports students’ formation as they deepen their faith, cultivate moral virtues, develop healthy relationships, become servant leaders, and reflectively and prayerfully discern their future.  


The single-sex, mixed-class, stay-hall system featuring modest-sized halls are critical elements of the residential model as is student participation in the halls. In fact, the model flourishes when members of each class year are active participants in the hall, with upperclassmen poised to model servant leadership and character formation and underclassmen benefiting from the guidance of their peers in preparation to pass on their knowledge in the years ahead.


Consequently, the University’s residential life experience presumes a three‐year residency requirement, and sophomores and juniors, beginning with the first-year class that matriculates in 2018 are required to live on campus in residence halls.


Because residence halls are a “point of entry” for introduction into the broader University culture, first-year students are required to live on campus in residence halls and are randomly assigned at least one roommate.  This practice encourages first-year students to develop a shared sense of responsibility and to cultivate a capacity to live with people of all backgrounds. It also helps students to develop points of connection within their residence hall; to utilize support, help, and resources for themselves and others by consulting with hall staff; to resolve differences; to demonstrate ownership and accountability for their behavior; and to grow as active participants and leaders in a Christian community.  


Sophomore, juniors and seniors can make more choices about their living arrangements, and are eligible to select their roommate(s) along with the rooms and sections where they live through a “room picks” process based on seniority and lottery numbers, as determined and communicated by Residential Life.


The intentional structure of residential life, particularly for first-year students, is designed to promote faith and human formation, community building, and leadership development, all ​of which are essential to the overall educational experience at Notre Dame.  


Students requesting housing accommodations should note that each hall has a limited number of single rooms, or “singles.”  Singles are in high demand, and are typically reserved for seniors who have chosen to live on-campus, and at times may be available to other upper class students based on seniority.  Because first-year students are randomly assigned to live with at least one roommate, the University will not assign first-year students to live in singles.  Moreover, while each hall has common study space and kitchen space available for residents’ use, the residence halls are not intended to be the primary place for students to study or prepare food on campus.


Additional information concerning community life at the University is available at https://residentiallife.nd.edu/undergraduate/community-life/.  


The University of Notre Dame supports the inclusion of students with disabilities in its on-campus residential facilities and programs.  The University recognizes the importance of providing reasonable accommodations in its residential life policies and practices where necessary for students with disabilities to use and enjoy the University’s residence halls.  However, as explained more fully below, the University may be unable to grant certain accommodation requests, such as those that would fundamentally alter the nature of the University’s Residential Life policies or practices, or those that are otherwise unreasonable (as defined below).  This document explains the procedures by which students must request reasonable accommodations in University housing, and by which those requests are considered and ultimately resolved by the University.


Section II.  Procedure for Requesting Reasonable Housing Accommodations


The University is required to provide reasonable accommodations for the limitations of qualified students with disabilities. The Sara Bea Accessibility Services Office (“Accessibility Services”) is responsible for evaluating whether to grant or deny requests for reasonable accommodations in the University’s residence halls.  In evaluating requests for housing accommodations, Accessibility Services will consult with other University officials, as well as the student’s qualified health professional or other reliable third party, as necessary, to determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary and, if so, whether the University can reasonably approve it.


Students with disabilities who reside or intend to reside in University housing and believe they will need a reasonable housing accommodation must initiate a request in accordance with the following steps:


  1. Requesting a Housing Accommodation Through AccessND


    1.  Students with disabilities must submit a request for a housing accommodation through the AccessND system to Sara Bea Accessibility Services.  Upon receipt of a request for a housing accommodation, Accessibility Services will communicate as needed with the affected student (and not with family members or other third parties) about the request.


    1. Requests for housing accommodations must be submitted to Sara Bea Accessibility Services by the deadlines stated on the following website: https://residentiallife.nd.edu/.  Requests received after these deadlines will be considered but cannot be guaranteed.  Other requests not related to the type of hall or room may be submitted at any time.


    1. If the need for a housing accommodation arises when a student already resides in University housing, the student must contact Accessibility Services to submit a request through AccessND for the accommodation as soon as practicable.  The University cannot guarantee that it will be able to provide the needed accommodation during the semester in which the request is received.


    1. Students may not request accommodations from individuals other than those in Accessibility Services (such as from a rector), and the University is not required to honor any accommodations that a student pursues without the approval of Accessibility Services if Sara Bea Staff later determines that the unauthorized accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration of a University policy, program or activity, or would otherwise be inappropriate.



B. Information Needed To Support Requests for Housing Accommodations


Accessibility Services shall only request from a student information needed to verify whether the student making the request has a disability and, if so, to evaluate whether the requested accommodation is necessary to provide the student an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing or to evaluate if a student’s request for exemption is a necessary accommodation.


    1. If the student’s disability or need for a housing accommodation is not obvious, Accessibility Services will require the student to provide information from a qualified treating health professional or other reliable third party who can verify, as needed, that the student has a disability and/or that the requested accommodation is necessary to provide the student an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing. This information will also verify, as needed, that the student’s disability is not able to be accommodated effectively in University Housing.


    1. A qualified treating health professional or other reliable third party is someone who has treated the student for the disability and understands the student’s need for the requested accommodation.  This may include, but is not limited to, a medical doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist or other medical or mental health professional. Family members are not considered a qualified treating health professional.


    1. If the medical documentation from the qualified health professional or other reliable third party lacks sufficient information for Accessibility Services to determine whether the student has a disability or whether a requested accommodation is necessary, Accessibility Services will inform the student in writing of the verification’s insufficiency and may request additional information, including speaking directly with the treating health professional or reliable third party.  In the event the University determines it is appropriate to obtain a second professional opinion concerning the nature and scope of a student's condition or the need for a possible accommodation, the University will bear the cost of obtaining the second opinion.


    1. The student making the request for an accommodation must cooperate with Accessibility Services by providing in a timely manner all information needed to determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary.


C. Determination of Reasonableness


    1. Students who request the accommodations listed above by the applicable deadline will receive a written response to their request from Accessibility Services, but such responses are generally provided only after the applicable deadline for requesting accommodations has passed.  Accessibility Services will provide a response to all other accommodation requests, typically within fourteen (14) business days of receiving the required information described in Section B above.


    1. Accessibility Services shall consult with Residential Life, the University Counseling Center, University Health Services, and other University officials, as well as the student’s treating health professional or reliable third party, as necessary, to determine whether the requested accommodation is necessary and, if so, whether it is reasonable.


D. Approval of Accommodation


    1. If Accessibility Services determines that a requested accommodation is necessary and is not unreasonable, it will typically notify the student in writing of its determination.  If necessary, Accessibility Services will arrange a meeting with the student to discuss the implementation of the accommodation.


 E. Denial of Accommodation/Appeal


    1. Accessibility Services may deny the requested accommodation if it is not necessary, or if it is deemed unreasonable by the University.  If Accessibility Services determines a requested accommodation is necessary but unreasonable, Accessibility Services will notify the student in writing of its determination and engage in an interactive process with the student to determine if there are reasonable alternative accommodations that might effectively meet the student’s disability-related needs.


I. An accommodation is “unreasonable” if it: (1) fundamentally alters the nature of any University programs, including its housing policies, procedures, or practices; (2) imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden; (3) poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or would cause substantial property damage to the property of others, including University property; and/or (4) is otherwise unreasonable to the operation of the University.


    1. If the student is unwilling to accept any alternative accommodation offered by Accessibility Services or if there are no alternative accommodations available, Accessibility Services will provide a verbal explanation and written notification to the student of the denial, the reasons for the denial, and the student’s right to grieve the decision in accordance with the University’s grievance procedure for students with disabilities, which is available at:





F. Confidentiality and Recordkeeping


In processing requests for reasonable accommodations, the University will take all steps required by applicable law to protect the confidentiality of any information or documentation disclosed in connection with the requests.  Such measures may include, where appropriate, limiting access to the University officials involved in either responding to requests for accommodation or implementing approved accommodations.  Such individuals will disclose information only to the extent necessary to determine whether the request is unreasonable, whether it may be granted, and to implement any approved accommodation, keeping all written requests and accompanying documentation in a secure area to which only those designated individuals have access, except as otherwise required or permitted by law or University policy.


 G. Non–Retaliation


The University of Notre Dame will not retaliate against any qualified student with a disability because that student has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in University Housing.