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Food Allergy Accommodations for Students


Academic Support & Access Center
Fax: 202-885-1042
Mary Graydon Center, Room 243

Monday-Thursday 9:00a.m. - 7:00p.m. Friday 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.

Academic Support & Access Center
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8027

Food Allergy Accommodations for Students

American University recognizes that in some instances a food allergy may constitute a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. When a determination is made that the impairment rises to the level of a disability, the university will consider requests for reasonable modifications in policies, practices and procedures to accommodate the needs of the student. Requests for disability-related accommodations are made through the Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC).

Dining Services Resources on Campus

Dining Services in located in the Terrace Dining Room in the Mary Graydon Center. All students seeking counseling on managing allergies, nutrition, and available dining options may meet with the licensed, registered dietician on the staff of Dining Services. The dietician can be contacted by email at or by calling 202-885-3184.

Procedures for Requesting Disability-Related Accommodations for a Food Allergy

Students wishing to make a request for reasonable accommodations due to a food allergy are strongly encouraged to make the university aware of their needs as early as possible, ensuring that sufficient time is available to allow for the deliberative process necessary to consider the student's request.

If a student wishes to request a disability-related accommodation pertaining to a food allergy, please note the following:

  • The deliberative process for the ASAC's consideration of accommodation requests consists of the following steps:
    1. The student must provide current documentation from an appropriate medical provider that describes the substantial nature of the impairment and includes a recommendation for accommodation. There must be a nexus between the impairment and the recommended accommodation.
    2. The student must complete the Student Accommodations Questionnaire (SAQ).
    3. The student must meet with Dining Services' licensed, registered dietician to discuss their needs and learn of the food options available to them. At the meeting, the following will be discussed:
      • the student's complete history of the foods that can and cannot be tolerated
      • all of the food options and allergy-alternative food products available at American University
      • introduction to Dining Services staff that work with students to meet their food allergy needs
    4. The student must schedule an appointment to meet with an ASAC counselor where the request for accommodation will be considered (this appointment should be scheduled to occur after the student has met with the dietician). Decisions on requests will be made through a deliberative process and may, as appropriate, involve university personnel with expertise on a subject, including, but not limited to the Student Health Center professional medical staff, the Director of Dining Services, a licensed, registered dietician, Housing & Dining Programs Staff, and the Department of Public Safety.  
  • The student will be notified by the ASAC if the request is granted, if an alternative is proposed, or if the request is denied.
  • If a request for accommodation is denied, the student may elect to appeal the decisions, either to the Senior Director, ASAC, or through American University's Disability Grievance Procedures.

Responding To Emergencies Related to Allergic Reactions

In any emergency, especially those involving a life-threatening food allergy, students should call the emergency number (202-885-3636) for the Department of Public Safety. The Department of Public Safety contacts DC Emergency Medical Services, meeting the emergency responder and escorting them to the student's location.

Students are strongly encouraged to carry any necessary medication with them at all times, to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace, and to register their health information through the RAVE system.