Following a four-year investigation, Kent State University and four employees have been accused of discriminatory housing practices for allegedly refusing to allow a female student to keep an emotional support animal in university-owned housing in 2010.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the charges Tuesday. It alleges that the university -- despite the recommendation of a university psychiatrist -- refused to allow the student to have her emotional support animal, a dog, in university-owned housing. The student sought "reasonable accommodation" for her disability and a waiver from the university allowing the animal to stay.
The waiver was denied, according to HUD, and student and her husband moved out of university-owned housing in order to keep the therapy dog.
"Many people with disabilities rely on therapy animals to enhance their quality of life," said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "The Fair Housing Act protects their right to a service animal and HUD is committed to taking action whenever the nation's fair housing laws are violated."
The case will be tried in federal court after the student, who has since graduated, and the university elected to have it heard there, according to the Fair Housing Advocates Association, an Akron-based non-profit advocacy organization that works closely with HUD to investigate allegations of Fair Housing Act violations.
KSU spokesman Eric Mansfield said a statement is forthcoming.
Read more in Wednesday's Record-Courier.
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