Armed and dangerous — with dander. Laundry machines have been reserved for students with dander sensitivity after implementation of the College’s emotional support animals (ESAs) policy.
In a Student-Info email sent out on Jan. 17, the Office of Housing and Residential Life (ResLife) announced it would be implementing some “new laundry protocols” to account for recent policy changes regarding ESAs. The most important changes associated with the new protocol are the designation of certain laundry facility machines for those who have been approved for ESAs and specifications that students with ESAs must use those machines for their laundry.
Last semester, ResLife allowed students who received permission to keep pets in their college housing to promote mental and emotional well-being. Washers and dryers intended for use specifically by those who live with animals in their college residence will be marked “ESA.” The laundry rooms in Caples and Watson Halls; Gund, Mather, McBride and Old Kenyon Residence Halls; the Craft Center; New Apartments; and Taft Cottages will now have one ESA-specific washer and dryer. Manning Hall will have two of each.The laundry facility in Farr Hall will not be affected by the new protocol, as it is also available to community members, according to the email.
Through this change, ResLife aims to prevent transmission of trace amounts of animal hair or dander left behind in machines to the clothes of those who may be highly allergic to either or both. The email emphasized that students without ESAs should avoid using these specifically designated laundry machines if other machines are available, as they are the only laundry appliances that ESA-approved students may use.
Lisa Train, associate director for housing and residential life, said the new protocol should not affect the availability of machines to students who do not have ESAs, and the use of machines by students with ESAs will depend on an honor system.
Train said no additional preparations are expected to accommodate students with ESAs, though the office is currently monitoring how peer institutions are implementing their own ESA policies.