Dietary 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 Dietary Accommodation Policy applies to all students and explains the specific steps necessary to request a dietary 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 dietary accommodations, to affirmatively request such accommodations within the established deadlines.

The Office of Accessible Education (OAE) works closely with the College’s food service vendor to provide students with reasonable dietary 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 Office of Accessible Education will engage in an interactive process to help identify other accommodations or adjustments. 

Process for Requesting a Dietary Accommodation

Dietary Accommodations must be requested and approved. Agnes Scott College will accept and consider all reasonable and necessary dietary 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 dietary 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.  Also, it may not be reasonable or feasible to grant refunds for meal plan accommodation requests received/approved 10 business days after the first day of classes for each semester. 

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

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

  1. Complete the New Student Application (Only one application is required even when applying for multiple accommodations, ie. academic & housing)
  2. Complete and upload documentation and the Dietary Accommodation Form to AIM.  Students may also email documentation directly to Miriam Smith, msmith@agnesscott.edu , hand deliver to Buttrick G13 or fax to 404-471-6083.
  3. Once OAE receives a dietary accommodation request, OAE staff will contact the student, in writing, to set up a meeting to discuss the requested dietary accommodation to ensure that the need and scope of the request is fully understood.
  4. The Office of Accessible Education will arrange a meeting with Carolyn Mangum, Director of Dining Services by emailing cmangum@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 during this meeting to identify dietary options available to students that can possibly meet your needs.  If Dining Services cannot reasonably accommodate a student, OAE will explore additional or alternative modifications/accommodations. 

Appeals

If the Meal Plan Accommodation Committee finds that a requested accommodation is not necessary and/or is 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 fifteen (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/ .