Skip to main content

Policies and Procedures

Animals on Campus FAQ

See this website resource from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ACA) for general FAQs on service animals: 

Please review the policy fully as it also answers many FAQs.  

1. Is a Service Animal the same as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)? 

No, there are different process and procedures for each. Please review the policy. 

2. Does the university have a therapy dog that can attend events?  

Yes – VUPS has two community canines who can be scheduled to attend campus events and there is no cost. There is a request form for each on this site.  

3. Do Service Animals have to wear identifying vests/apparel or do their owners have to show verification?  

      a. No apparel or identifying information is required to verify the animal as a service animal.

      b. No documentation is required.  

4. Under the ADA and campus policy, what are the permitted questions to ask the owner of an animal that enters a campus building? 

The owner may be asked, “Is the dog/other animal a service animal required because of a disability?”

      a. If YES. You may follow with, “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?”  

Note: The ADA explains this on their website as, “The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.” 

      b. If NO. Inform the owner that companion animals are not permitted in the building but are permitted on campus outdoor grounds. Politely ask the animal owner to leave the building with the animal. 

5. What are the escalation steps if the owner of non-service animal refuses to leave an indoor space after being asked?  

      a. Step 1: Notify on site supervisor and request supervisor meet at the site. 

      b. Step 2: Supervisors informs the owner that companion animals are not permitted in the building and politely asks them to leave to the outdoors. 

      c. Step 3: If animal owner does not comply to supervisor’s direction, notify VUPD’s non-emergency line at 615-322-2745 for assistance. Provide a description of the situation, the animal owner, and the animal.  

6. What should I do if I see an animal in any indoor or outdoor space is demonstrating unsafe, threatening, or aggressive behavior. 

      a. Do not approach the animal. 

      b. If appropriate, verbalize concerns with animal owner. This is not required, but circumstantial. 

      c. Contact VUPD at 615-421-1911 and provide your location, description of the animal and owner (if apparent), and information about the animal’s behavior.  

7. What is the process to gain university approval for a campus event with animals? 

      a. Reserve campus space and indicate plans to include animals.  

      b. Discuss with event manager the type of activity, how animals will participate, and how it is critical to the success of the event. 

      c. Departments and student organizations hosting outdoor events must present the event to the Facilities Review Committee (FRC) for approval at least four weeks prior to the event to ensure that a two week advance notification is provided to the campus.  

      d. Outdoor events with companion animals/pets must follow the terms in the policy with the appropriate risk mitigation steps. This includes requirements for animals to meet city animal code vaccination requirements and attending pet owners must complete Assumption of Risk paperwork. Companion Animal events may be denied based on other risk circumstances. 

      e. Outdoor events with third party animal groups: 

            i. Certified Therapeutic Animal groups (preferred) must comply with the contracting process for third parties (regardless of payment amount). 

            ii. Non-Therapeutic Animal organizations must comply with the contracting process for third parties and event attendees must compete and Assumption of Risk form. 

8. Does the university ever deny proposed events with animals such as third-party animal organizations or companion animal events? 

      a. Proposed events with third-party organizations and companion animals must be approved.  

      b. The university may deny an event with animals if any organization is unable to meet the terms of the contract or if pet owners refuse to meet the agreement terms. Internal processes to request insurance and contract exceptions may require documented University Business Officer (CBO) department risk assumption and approval. The university may deny an event with if it is not critical to the success of the event and/or there is additional risk in the temperament of the animal when in unfamiliar environments, crowds, and for prolonged periods of time. Therapeutic animal organizations are preferred based on training and experience.  

      c. The university may deny a proposed event with animals if there is additional risk identified such as but not limited to - group size, environmental controls, other activity occurring during the event, vulnerable populations, or other events in the same proximity.  



All Vanderbilt University employees are required to abide by the institution’s Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy, refer to the following link:

As stated in Vanderbilt Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy, “All individual members of the University community are expected to:

I. abide by the Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy and standards set forth in this Policy (including any specific procedures adopted by specific schools or departments pursuant to or in furtherance of this policy),

II. fully and continually disclose professional and relevant personal activities and relationships that create a Conflict of Interest or Commitment or have the appearance of creating a Conflict of Interest or Commitment as required by the University,

III. remedy Conflicts of Interest or Commitment or comply with any management or monitoring plan prescribed by the University,

IV. Remain aware of the potential for Conflicts of Interest and Commitment; and

V. Take initiative to manage, disclose, or resolve Conflicts of Interest or Commitment as appropriate.”

In light of the fact that employees of the Facilities department (Campus Planning and Construction; Maintenance and Operations; Sustainability and Environmental Management; Environmental Health and Safety; Facilities Business Operations Center; and VU Real Estate) engage with and process extraordinarily large amounts of transactions with many vendors, suppliers, contractors, consultants, etc., many times at high dollar values. It is incumbent that all Facilities employees understand that we are held to a higher standard. As such, offering additional clarity so that Facilities employees understand how the Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy is applied, the Facilities Department within the Division of Administration will adhere to the following procedures, rules and values regarding “Section C” of the aforementioned policy:

Facilities personnel:

• May accept gifts, meals, entertainment, and other normal social amenities no greater in value than $100 per occurrence, not to exceed $300 per year from a single source, whether an individual or Business. The Facilities employee must declare in the annual COI report every occurrence whose value is $25 or greater, while gifts valued under $25 do not require disclosure.

• May NOT accept gifts, meals, entertainment, and other normal social amenities greater in value than $100 per occurrence from a single source, whether an individual or business. Failure to adhere to these rules and limits, including improperly or not declaring occurrences as required above, will result in appropriate disciplinary action, including suspension or termination.

COI Disclosure/Reporting

We require that all Facilities Department employees disclose all occurrences within 30 days of the receipt of the gift, service, or discount.  The form to disclose can be found here:



Facilities recognizes that designated employees may be required to conduct routine business during the workday via cell phone, or outside of normal business hours. They may receive and make business telephone calls, text messages, and emails while in the field or after scheduled hours. Employees who are required to perform these functions as part of their job duties will either be issued a university-owned cell phone under the current plan or will receive partial reimbursement via a monthly stipend. If the employee selects the stipend, the stipend will be added to the employee’s paycheck once a month and is a taxable benefit. For both options, the departmental senior leader must review and approve all requests.

This policy specifically establishes the proper use and responsibilities for those employees who have university-issued communication devices (e.g. cell phones, iPads).


  1. Employees are responsible for keeping their devices charged and protecting them from damage.

  2. Damage should be reported to the employee’s manager immediately.

  3. Lost or stolen devices should be reported to the employee's manager immediately.

  4. Employees shall use their devices for university business only. Incidental use of a device for personal business will not result in disciplinary action as long as that use does not result in a financial cost to the university and as long as all university policies and rules are followed.

  5. Employees shall adhere to Vanderbilt University’s Electronic Communications and Information Technology Resources and Acceptable Use policies.

  6. Employees shall not download apps or make any modifications to the device hardware or software. If an app is desired, the employee may send a request to their manager who will forward the request through their director (for approval if applicable) and then to the Senior Director of Systems for review and implementation.

  7. Employees shall acknowledge that they have read and understand this policy via an online platform such as Oracle Learn.


  1. Managers will review and validate the business need for devices for new employees, and for existing employees on an annual basis.

  2. Managers will submit each device request through their director (for approval if applicable) and then to the Senior Director of Systems to be processed.

  3. Managers are responsible for collecting and returning devices and peripheral equipment (case, charger, etc.) to the Senior Director of Systems when an employee leaves the university.

  4. The Senior Director of Systems shall be responsible for managing device software updates, app updates, and settings, and shall produce an annual report listing the user, status, and annual service cost of each device.

Download the full policy here

In the interest of providing the Vanderbilt University community with a safe environment to learn, teach, live, and work, the University limits and controls keys to University facilities and spaces. Keys and locks to University facilities and spaces are the property of Vanderbilt University, and should be obtained and managed in accordance with this procedure. The specific purpose of this procedure is to ensure that keys are issued only to appropriate persons and for appropriate reasons; to define the responsibilities of University key holders; and to provide for the responsible care of keys held by key holders. Keys are managed according to the risk that would be presented by the key being lost, missing, or stolen.

This procedure applies to all students, faculty, staff, vendors, suppliers, designers, consultants, and contractors accessing University controlled areas. However, this procedure does not include card access locks, keys for leased space, Vanderbilt University Real Estate held properties, rental housing units, or construction sites wholly controlled by a contractor.



To establish a policy and set forth a procedure for unlocking a door or building


Any time a Facilities employee unlocks a building or door, that employee will not leave the area until the building or door is locked back. 


1. This policy will be included in all new employee orientation and reviewed with each employee every January.


Violations of this policy will be considered a serious offense and violators will be subject to disciplinary action.

Download the Unlocking a Door/Building procedure here

Looking for a Policy or Procedure not listed above? Contact the Scott Eller with the Employee Engagement Team.

Facilities staff members, if you have a gift, meal, or entertainment from a vendor to declare, please use the form here: