Service Animals for Students

The Cooper Union Service Animal Policies & Procedures 

1. Purpose 

It is the policy of The Cooper Union to afford individuals with disabilities who require the assistance of a service animal equal opportunity to access Cooper Union property, courses, programs, and activities. 

This policy complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-11) and 45 CFR Part 84; Fair Housing Act of 1968 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq. 

2. Definitions 

Owner: Owner means any person having an interest in or right of possession to a service animal, or any person having control, custody, or possession of a service animal. 

Service Animal: A service animal means any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychological, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks. 

Emotional Support Animal: An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support or passive comfort that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a disability. A therapy animal is not a service animal under this policy. Access for therapy animals is evaluated similarly to any other request for accommodation and should be directed to the designated disability services office. Additional information can be found here

3. Where Service Animals Are Allowed 

Generally, owners of service animals are permitted to be accompanied by their service animal in all areas of The Cooper Union’s facilities and programs where the owner is allowed to go. Such areas include public areas, public events, classrooms, and other areas where Cooper Union programs or activities are held. Limited exceptions for service animal access are noted in Section 8. 

4. Assessing Service Animal Status 

Permitted Inquiries 
Cooper Union personnel must permit service animal access to an event or activity with its owner when it is readily apparent that the animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for its owner. Examples include a dog guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling an individual's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability. 
If the need for the service animal is not apparent, Cooper Union personnel may only ask the following of service animal owners: 

  • Whether the service animal is required because of a disability; and 

  • What work or task the animal has been trained to perform. 

If the owner states that the animal is required because of a disability and that the animal has been trained to do work or a task for the owner, then the service animal must be admitted. (See Section 8 for areas where a service animal may be excluded.) If there is any doubt that an animal is service animal, Cooper Union personnel should admit the animal and then consult with the Director of Student Care and Support regarding future access (See Section 12).  
Service animal owners must not be asked about the nature of their disability or for medical documentation of it, except as provided in Sections 9 and 11. Owners may not be asked for a special registration, identification card, license, or other documentation that the animal is a service animal, or to demonstrate the animal's ability to perform work or tasks.  
Service animal owners are not required to register their service animal with The Cooper Union. Service animal owners, including students and guests, who regularly access Cooper Union buildings are encouraged to contact the designated disability services office, Cooper Union’s Office of Student Affairs. Student Affairs can then assist the owner by providing advance notice to Cooper Union personnel, such as faculty, advisors, building coordinators, etc., that the owner and service animal are entitled to access.  

5.  Service Animal Owners' Responsibilities 

  • Keeping the service animal under their direct control at all times, such as by a harness, leash, or another tether; however, if the use of a harness, leash, or other tether interferes with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, or if the owner's disability prevents the use of such devices, then the service animal must be under the owner's control through voice control, signals, or other effective means; 

  • Ensuring the service animal does not disturb or disrupt normal academic or administrative functions; 

  • Taking all reasonable steps to ensure that the service animal does relieve itself inside of Cooper Union’s facilities;  

  • Immediately cleaning up after the service animal and properly disposing of the service animal's waste or other debris; 

  • Complying with any relevant city, county, and/or state license and leash laws while the service animal is on Cooper Union premises. 

  • The owner is responsible for damage or injury caused by the service animal. 

6.  Removal of Service Animals from Cooper Union Facilities 

Cooper Union personnel may only ask service animal owners to remove their service animal from Cooper Union premises or from the immediate area as follows: 

  • If the service animal is not under the owner's direct control or the service animal is disturbing or disrupting the normal administrative, academic, or programmatic routine, then the owner must first be given an opportunity to get the animal under control. If the disruption or disturbance continues, then the owner may be asked to remove the animal; or 

  • If the presence, behavior, or actions of the service animal constitutes an immediate risk or danger to people or property, the owner can be asked to immediately remove the animal and 911 (emergency assistance) may be contacted. 

  • If asked to remove the service animal, the owner must be offered the opportunity to return to the  premises or the immediate area without the service animal and be provided with reasonable assistance at that time to participate in the service or program. 

  • A service animal may only be excluded for an individual event based on its or the owner's behavior at that event. The service animal or its owner cannot be excluded from future events based on a problem at a past event, except as provided in Section 7. 

Owners with concerns about the removal of their service animal should contact the Director of Student Care and Support. (Section 12) 

7.  Violations of Policy 

Depending on the seriousness of the animal's conduct or repeated conduct, service animals may be excluded from Cooper Union property temporarily or permanently. The Director of Student Care an Support is responsible for conducting the necessary assessments regarding ongoing or permanent removal of a service animal. If a service animal is excluded, the Office of Student Affairs will assist in evaluating reasonable accommodations for the owner. 

Owners who violate this policy or disregard an instruction to remove or exclude a service animal from Cooper Union property may be subject to additional penalties, including banning from any Cooper Union property, or other fines or penalties under applicable city, county, or state rules, regulations, or laws.  

8.  Restrictions on Access for Service Animals 

A service animal may be restricted from specific areas when consistent with other Cooper Union policies, state, and/or federal laws/regulations. Examples of these areas may include: 

  • Research facilities and grounds;  

  • Technical workspaces including, not limited to: shop spaces, high vent rooms, etc.; and, 

  • Biologically sensitive or hazardous research sites. 

If a service animal is restricted from certain areas, the Office of Student Affairs can assist in evaluating reasonable accommodations for the owner. 

9.  Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals in Cooper Union Housing 

Requests to use service animals or emotional support animals in Cooper Union housing must be made through the appropriate housing office or through a designated disability services accommodation (See Section 12). 

10.  Employees with Service Animals 

Employees who require the use of a service animal in the workplace should make a request for an accommodation through their direct supervisor. The employee’s supervisor will consult with Human Resources.   

11.  Service Animals in Training 

Service animals in training may be permitted, but are not entitled to, the same access as service animals. The Cooper Union employee with authority over the building area has the discretion whether to permit access to service animals in training. Any individual bringing a service animal in training on University property is responsible for complying with this policy including Section 5. 

12.  Designated Disability Services Resources 

The Office of Student Affairs provides Disability Support Services for all Cooper Union students.  

Any additional inquiries and concerns regarding all service animal and/or disability accommodations may be directed to the Director of Student Care and Support. Questions or concerns should be sent to


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.