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Dietary Accommodations

Request for Dietary-based Disability Accommodation

In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Dickinson College has established procedures to ensure that students with documented disabilities have access to reasonable on-campus dietary accommodations. 

Students (and parents) should bear in mind that, as a four-year residential college, all students living on campus are required to purchase a meal plan. Students in need of dietary accommodations should not expect an exemption from this meal plan requirement. Dietary accommodations can be facilitated through Dining Services where every reasonable effort will be made to support students’ documented dietary needs, while maintaining Dickinson’s core belief that dining with fellow students is an important facet of life at a residential college. Dietary accommodations that are currently available through Dining Services include gluten-free and lactose-free options, meals for vegan diets, a Star-K-certified kosher kitchen, and the ability to request alternative meals if necessitated by a documented medical condition.

Dickinson is committed to removing barriers to full participation in the Dickinson community, and the Dietary Accommodations Committee will make every effort to accommodate students with dietary-based disabilities and maintain accessibility to Dining Services options. Visit Dining Services' Dietary and Allergen Information page for more information on Dickinson's procedures for addressing food allergies.

Procedures for Requesting a Dietary-based Accommodation  

A. Complete and submit a Disability Disclosure and Accommodation Request Form electronically through the Forms tab of the Dickinson Gateway.

B. Have your relevant care provider send ADS documentation of the disabling condition for which you are seeking a dietary accommodation. Instruct your care provider to send ADS the following 2 things:

     1.  A completed Dietary-based Disability Documentation Form  
     (Your care provider can access the form via this page by going to: 
     2. Supporting documentation of the disability, such as test results, lab reports, and office visit logs. Review our Documentation Guidelines for the requirements for each specific disability.  
Documentation should be sent directly from the student's care provider to ADS by one of the following means:
           Fax: 717-254-8139
           US Mail: Access and Disability Services, Dickinson College, P.O Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013

C. Follow up with ADS to ascertain whether or not we have received the documentation that you asked your care provider to send us.

Request and Documentation Deadlines for Incoming and Returning Students

  • June 30th for the Fall Semester
  • November 30th for the Spring Semester

Requests for dietary accommodations will not be reviewed until all documentation has been received. While applications submitted after these dates will be accepted and considered, Dickinson College cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation needs, including any needs that develop during the semester.

Requests will be considered by the Dietary Accommodations Committee, which is comprised of representatives from Access and Disability Services, Dining Services, the Wellness Center, and other professional consultants, as needed. If follow-ups with care providers are needed, this may require additional time for an accommodation determination to be made. Students are informed of the status of their request by the Committee as soon as reasonably possible. 

Determination of Accommodation

Dietary accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to documented need, and prevailing standards for reasonable accommodations. Guiding questions may include:

  • Does the student have a disability (i.e., a substantial limitation of a major life activity, as compared to the majority of students) that would impair their participation in Dickinson's dining experiences and/or access to healthy meals?
  • If so, what documented barrier(s) does the disability pose?
  • What reasonable accommodation(s) -- substantiated by the documentation as necessary, and which would not pose a fundamental alteration to core or essential operations – could be granted that might reduce and/or remove the barrier(s)?

Please note that students are not making a request for a specific outcome, but rather a request for an accommodation that would foster access to healthy meals. The Dietary Disability Accommodations Committee will review the student’s request and related documentation and determine an appropriate and reasonable dietary accommodation, if warranted. The College does not grant accommodations solely on the recommendations of care providers, but on the documented functional limitations posed by the student’s disability under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.


If you submit a dietary accommodation request that is denied, the standard first step in the appeals process is to respond to your email notification asking that your request be reconsidered. You should provide an elaboration as to why you believe your request to be necessitated on the basis of a disability and provide details as to how the options provided to you pose a substantial limitation to one or more major life activities that cannot be assuaged through reasonable alternative options. If you are dissatisfied with the results of your informal appeal, or if you wish to forgo the informal appeals process, you can find information regarding the formal appeals process in this Disability-Related Complaints Policy.