Dear Student,

Welcome to the Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D)!

My job is to coordinate a range of services and accommodations for students with documented disabilities. MECA&D is committed to providing equal access for students with disabilities under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its amendments, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Students can expect to work collaboratively with the disability services coordinator to develop an individualized plan for specific accommodations.

We will begin with an initial meeting to discuss barriers and accommodation needs, and then I’ll introduce helpful resources and various supports on campus.

Click on the links below for a step-by-step process to request academic, housing, or ESA accommodations.

Academic Accommodations

  • Step 1: Student fills out Initial Appointment Form
  • Step 2: Student provides documentation
  • Step 3: Student meets with Disability Services Coordinator
  • Step 4: Coordinator provides Faculty Accommodations Letter to Student, if applicable
  • Step 5: Student shares their letter with their faculty

Documentation Guidelines

Initial Appointment: Once your documentation is received, I will contact you to schedule an initial appointment. The initial appointment takes about 1 hour and will include a review of documentation, past use of accommodations, review of your schedule and any current academic issues. Together we will determine appropriate accommodations. You are welcome to bring a supportive person to your initial appointment if you wish. At the conclusion of your appointment, if applicable, I will provide you with information on how to notify faculty of your accommodations using an electronic Faculty Accommodations Letter.

Housing Accommodations

Students requesting housing accommodations (e.g., first floor, single room, visual alarms in residential rooms, close proximity to the restroom, etc.) are required to apply for accommodations through the Disability Services Coordinator. To be eligible for accommodations, your disability must significantly restrict your access to and your participation in the residential community. Submission of a request does not guarantee approval of accommodations.

Because of various sites on campus that provide reduced distraction study space, housing accommodations are generally not provided for academic related needs. The Disability Services Coordinator strongly encourages students whose attendance at the college depends on the availability of on campus housing to apply far in advance of the published deadlines.

Follow the step by step instructions below to apply for housing accommodations.

  • Step 1: New residential students should complete and submit a housing contract as soon as possible after matriculation. Returning students must complete a housing contract and renew or request a new housing accommodation request during the room selection process and follow the published deadline.
  • Step 2: Complete and submit the  Disability-based Housing Accommodations Request - Student Form. Requests made after housing placements have been completed will be honored on a space available basis.
  • Step 3: Submit written documentation of your disability from a licensed professional. The Disability Coordinator recommends that students use our housing provider form. If you have other documentation for review, please submit to the Disability Coordinator at disabilityservices@meca.edu.
  • Step 4: Your request will be reviewed by the Disability Services Coordinator when we have both your housing accommodation request and documentation. You may be asked to meet with the Disability Coordinator via phone or virtually to fully understand your request. See our Housing Accommodation Policy for more detail on how requests are reviewed.
  • Step 5: Returners will be notified in writing before room selection begins. New residential students will be reviewed starting on June 1.
  • Step 6: The Disability Coordinator notifies Student Life about any approved housing accommodations.

Emotional Support Animal Accommodations

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and covers a category of animals that may work, provide assistance, or perform physical tasks for an individual with a disability and/or provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability, but which are not considered Service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act and MECA&D’s Service Animal Policy.

An ESA is typically prescribed or recommended to an individual with a disability by a mental health professional as an integral part of a person's treatment process to assist in alleviating the symptoms of that individual's disability. This treatment occurs within the person's residence and, therefore, may be considered for access to MECA&D housing. The question in determining if an ESA will be allowed in housing is whether or not the ESA is necessary because of an individual’s disability to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy MECA&D’s housing. Below is the step-by-step process of requesting an ESA.

ESA Accommodations

If ESA request is approved:

  • Step 6: Student provides Disability Services Coordinator with veterinarian records of current immunization and spay/neutering.
  • Step 7: Student meets with Disability Services Coordinator and reviews and signs the statement “Responsibility of an Individual with an Emotional Support Animal in MECA&D Housing."
  • Step 8: Disability Service Coordinator provides student with ESA Approval letter and notifies Student Life Staff
  • Step 9: Student meets with residential life staff if needed.

I look forward to working with you!
Sincerely,
Joanne Benica, M.S., CRC
Disability Services Coordinator
disabilityservices@meca.edu

Additional Resources: