The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 56

Autumn K. Wilke, Nancy J. Evans, Charlie E. Varland, Kirsten R. Brown, Ellen M. Broido

mate, providing sensory break spaces with
sound proofing to provide respite for students
with migraines or autism, offering more single
room options in a variety of halls so students
could live near their friends, and cleaning the
halls (including air vents) to improve accessibility for students with allergies.
Participants also made suggestions regarding the knowledge and responsiveness of residence life staff. Danny urged that staff receive
more training on mental health issues to gain
greater sensitivity to the types of environments
that worked best for students with psychological disabilities. Both Lee and Rachel, who attended different colleges, noted that clearer
and more accessible information about how
to get accommodations related to housing
was necessary. Four students, who identified
with a variety of disabilities (i.e., physical/LD,
physical, LD, mental/physical/ASD) and attended three different colleges, indicated that
they were pleased with the residential environments at their colleges and offered no suggestions for improvements.

DISCUSSION
Housing professionals described the accommodations process as reactive (Vaccaro &
Kimball, 2018) and students in this study
agreed. Literature indicated the importance of
accommodations (Kim & Lee, 2016) and oncampus housing (Mamiseishvili & Koch, 2011)
in supporting the retention of disabled students. While these points were echoed in the
narratives of several participants, it was also
clear that it was not merely the presence of accommodations or on-campus living but rather
well-thought out and individually tailored accommodations and living environments that

56

supported students' social integration. When
accommodations were not individually tailored, students experienced conflict.
Similar to research that focuses on the
voices of other minoritized student populations in campus housing (e.g., Wagner,
Marine, & Nicolazzo, 2018), students in this
study conceptualized accessibility broadly,
called for greater staff training and better
communication about how to access accommodations, and drew attention to how policies
affected their residential experiences. Rigid
application of policy was designed to treat all
residents equally but did not always equitably
support the disabled students in this study.
Students also believed that some accommodations came with trade-offs in social integration. Single rooms afforded respite to manage
symptoms of psychological disabilities, had
fewer distractions to exacerbate learning disabilities, and allowed for privacy when carrying
out medical treatments. However, participants
felt like they had to choose between a single
room and the ability to make friends more
easily when they had a roommate.
Previous research has suggested that disabled students frequently ask for emotional
support animals (ESAs) as accommodations
(Evans et al., 2017); however, only two students
in our study had done so. We believe this is
because many students attending the institutions in our sample come from geographic
locations far from the campuses. Students
employing ESAs as an accommodation would
likely need to arrange for air transportation,
which is becoming more difficult as airlines
tighten up ESA regulations.
Dining has not been central to prior discussions of housing accommodations, but several

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Intro
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