The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 57

Disabled Sudents Living on Campus

students saw the dining halls as an extension
of the residential environment, and their views
of how well their eating disorders or food allergies were accommodated influenced their
residential experience. While institutions that
compel students to eat on campus have a legal
obligation to meet dietary requirements (United
States of America v. Lesley University, 2012), limiting options to one dining hall, prohibiting the
removal of food, or failing to create systems to
monitor cross-contamination restricted students' ability to eat with their peers or eat at
all. For example, while Rainy and Sintysa were
offered dining accommodations in place of a
release from the meal plan, both felt that the
accommodations were generic and did not fit
their specific situations. Both students pointed
out it was not only the food items available but
also the density of other students, faculty, and
staff using the dining spaces that made the accommodations ineffective. Sintysa explained
that cross-contamination caused by both students and untrained dining staff created difficulties and negated any gluten-free entrées
that were available. Therefore, it is imperative
that residence life staff encourage institutional
leadership to review dining policies, designate
allergy-free spaces as well as food options,
and create disability training specifically for
campus dining staff.
All the participants in the study identified
as having disabilities that were non-apparent.
Most of the students identified as having psychological disabilities, learning disabilities,
and/or chronic health issues. As noted in the
literature, non-apparent disabilities often lack
legitimacy (Evans et al., 2017; Evans & Herriott, 2009), which could explain the reluctance
of some residence life staff to provide accom-

modations, while fear of rejection and stigma
could explain why so few students in the study
asked for accommodations.

CONCLUSIONS AND
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Residential accommodations need to be flexible and creative. Students with similar disabilities may respond differently to the same
accommodations, and many students with
co-occurring disabilities may require tailored
accommodations. Residence life staff must be
willing to work individually with disabled students to determine what type of environment
works best for each of them and how to create
such an environment while also addressing
students' need for social integration.
Students require clear and readily accessible information about the types of accommodations that are available and how to apply
for them. Residence life staff should send such
information to all students prior to their enrollment in order to ensure that disabled students
who may not have contacted the Disability Resources Office are informed of their options.
Ideally, a meeting with each student requesting more information about accommodations
could be conducted before the student arrives
on campus to ensure that their housing option
is ready for them and appropriate to their
situation.
For some disabled students, such as those
with chronic migraines or auditory processing
issues, single rooms may be imperative for providing the quiet environment their disability requires. Although the demand for single rooms
often exceeds current institutional capacities
(Vaccaro & Kimball, 2018), it is important that

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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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