Meal Plan Accommodations

 Agnes Scott College is committed to supporting students with medical dietary disabilities and/or conditions with reasonable accommodations to provide equal access to the College’s meal plan and/or facility. The Meal Plan Accommodation Policy applies to all students and explains the specific steps necessary to request a meal plan accommodation at Agnes Scott College.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The three factors influencing a determination of substantial limitation are 1) the nature and severity of the impairment, 2) the duration or expected duration of the impairment, and 3) whether the impairment is characterized as permanent or long-term.

General Information

The College believes that a major feature of attending a residential college is the opportunity for all students to live with one another. As such, all students living in College Housing are required to have a meal plan. The College requires students with medical dietary disabilities and/or conditions, who require reasonable meal plan accommodation, to affirmatively request such meal plan accommodation within the established deadlines.

The Office of Accessible Education (OAE) works closely with the College’s food service vendor to provide students with reasonable meal plan accommodations. Most medical dietary disabilities and/or conditions can be met by developing a Food Management Plan which outlines reasonable alternative dietary options with the Office of Accessible Education and Dining Services staff. Reasonable dietary alternatives currently available include, but are not limited to gluten-free and lactose-free food options, meals for medically-required diets, and the option to request alternative meals.  If the currently dietary options available do not adequately and equitably meet a student’s needs, the student can request formalized accommodations such as a meal-plan reduction. 

Process for Requesting a Meal Plan Accommodation

Meal plan accommodations must be requested and approved. Agnes Scott College will accept and consider all reasonable and necessary meal plan accommodation requests at any time, however, completed requests must be received by the Office of Accessible Education by the following dates in order to ensure that approved requests can be accommodated for the specified term and/or remainder of the academic year:

November 1st (returning students for Spring)

March 1st (returning students for fall)

June 15th (first year and transfer students for fall)

Should a need for reasonable meal plan accommodation occur during a current term and/or after one of the aforementioned dates, students should complete the process below as soon as possible. While the College will make every reasonable effort to address all necessary and requested accommodations, the College cannot guarantee that it will be reasonable or feasible for the current and/or upcoming term to grant a meal plan accommodation request received after the stated deadlines.

Submitting a request for a reasonable meal plan accommodation does not guarantee a specific accommodation. Students must complete the meal plan accommodation request process and receive approval before engaging in any behaviors related to the requested meal plan accommodation.

Documentation

When the disability and/or need for accommodation is not obvious students will need to have a treating healthcare provider submit documentation to the Office of Accessible Education. This information provides OAE with reliable documentation that the student has a disability. Documentation must also show that the requested accommodation is necessary to provide them with equal access to the College’s meal plan and/or facility; in addition, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and their disability. The treating health care provider providing the documentation must specialize in a field consistent with the diagnosis, as well as be familiar with the student’s disability and the necessity for the requested accommodation. To avoid any conflict of interest, documentation must be provided by a non-family healthcare provider.  Please see the documentation guidelines listed on the Meal Plan Accommodation Request Form.

Students seeking reasonable and necessary meal plan accommodations must complete the following:

  1. Students should first schedule a meeting with Pete Miller, Director of Dining Services by emailing pmiller@agnesscott.edu to discuss the existing opportunities for Agnes Scott College to meet your dietary needs within current dietary alternatives.  The Director of Dining Services will complete a Food Management Plan with you to identify dietary options available to students that can possibly meet your needs without accommodations.  If the outcome of the student’s meeting with Dining Services is not satisfactory and additional accommodations need to be requested, the student should complete the remaining steps below.
  2. If the current dietary options that are available do not adequately and equitably meet the student’s needs, students must complete and submit the Office of Accessible Education Welcome Packet, Meal Plan Accommodation Request Form and have a treating healthcare provider submit documentation of your disability to the Office of Accessible Education, Buttrick G13.  Documentation Guidelines are listed with the Meal Plan Accommodation Request Form.  OAE will provide assistance to students who, due to their disability, require assistance to complete these, or any other related forms. No meal plan accommodation request will be considered without the completion of the needed forms.
  3. Once OAE receives a meal plan accommodation request, the director or designee will contact the student, in writing, to set up a meeting to discuss the requested meal plan accommodation to ensure that the need and scope of the request is fully understood.

 Meal Plan Accommodation Decision

  1. The Meal Plan Accommodation committee will review the documentation submitted for reasonable and necessary accommodations, as necessary.
  2. Unless there are exigent circumstances, the Meal Plan Accommodation Committee will provide a written response for all completed applications, as defined above, within 15 business days after the next application due date (March 1st, June 15th or November 1st). Upon approval, this written response will include the student’s meal plan accommodation.  Upon denial, see the appeals process below.

Appeals

If the Meal Plan Accommodation Committee finds that a requested accommodation is not necessary and/or unreasonable, the student may file a written appeal to Jennifer Cannady, Assistant Dean of the College/Director of Academic Advising & Accessible Education within five (5) business days of the denial. The appeal will be considered only on the basis of written materials, information and/or documentation only.

The appeal must be based upon one or more of the following criteria:
• Procedural error(s) made in the consideration of the request
• New information unavailable at the time of the request (i.e. updated medical information)
• The decision was clearly erroneous based on the written record

Upon receipt of the appeal staff will review all of the relevant information and provide a written response within fifth-teen (15) business days either granting the appeal and modifying the initial decision, or denying the appeal and maintaining the initial decision. This decision shall be final.

Nothing in the policy shall prohibit a student who believes that they may have been subjected to disability discrimination to utilize the College’s Grievance Procedures and/or to pursue a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/ .