Disability Services Center

Residential Students - Housing Accommodations and Meal Plan Modifications

USM’s Office of Residential Life offers a variety of housing options to students who wish to live on campus.  Housing options include traditional residence hall rooms and suite style options as well as various living and learning communities.  As with all communal living, all housing options at USM involve students sharing living space, bathrooms and other common areas with their peers. The Office of Residential Life strives to create a vibrant community and provide housing that fosters and supports students’ academic, social and personal goals and well-being.

Students requesting housing accommodations are required to apply for accommodations through the Disability Services Center.  Students must complete a Housing Accommodations Request Form. Students must also submit documentation from a licensed health care professional verifying the student's disability and substantiating the need for accommodation. Licensed health care providers should use the Housing Accommodations Provider Form.  Completed forms can be returned by email or by fax (207) 780-4403.   If you have additional questions, please review our Housing Accommodations Policy.

To be eligible for accommodations, your disability must significantly restrict your access to and your participation in the residential community.  Submission of a request does not guarantee approval of accommodations.  Examples of housing accommodations may include modifying rooms to accommodate students with physical access needs, installing visual alarms in residential rooms for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, assigning a student a room with close proximity to the restroom for medical reasons, or assigning a single room to accommodate adaptive technology equipment.  Because of numerous sites on campus that provide reduced distraction study space, housing accommodations are generally not provided for academic related needs.   The Disability Services Center (DSC) strongly encourages students whose attendance at the university depends on the availability of on campus housing to apply far in advance of the published deadlines. 

Meal Plan Modifications

Sodexo Dining Services offers a variety of options related to dietary needs. Standard food selections are offered that meet the needs of students who are seeking vegetarian, vegan and gluten free diets (to name just a few). We can also work with students who have food allergies to explore what is offered at the various dining stations.  During the academic year, students are encouraged to speak with any of the Sodexo Management Team. They may also refer to the Sodexo Website to identify nutritional content:

Weekly Menus:  usm.sodexomyway.com
Sodexo Nutrition Page:  usm.sodexomyway.com/explore/nutrition

At any point in the semester, students can schedule an informal dietary consultation with a member of the Sodexo management team. This consultation may address questions regarding food preparation, discuss standard ingredients used and provide an orientation of what is offered at the various stations. For nutrition focused questions, students are encouraged to meet with Sodexo’s District Dietitian.

If students have questions at any time regarding available options, ingredients, or cooking methods, it is important that they ask a member of the management staff.

Dietitian Consultation

Students who have dietary needs or food allergies may request modifications related to their meal plan. An individualized plan will be developed. Choices within this plan will be nutritionally comparable to the food choices of other students and to an extent that it is reasonably possible. To schedule a consultation, email the Dietitian. (See contact info below)

Documentation:  Occasionally we may ask for professional documentation to further explain or provide additional information about the allergy and related conditions.  This should be from medical doctors as well as dietitians and allergists who are appropriately licensed. If needed, additional supporting documentation may be requested to better understand your needs.

This documentation should describe:

The condition requiring the modification

The current impact and severity of the condition

A listing of types of food the student is to avoid with corresponding severity of reaction

A listing of acceptable food options

Request Procedures

The following procedure is to be used only for a student who is requesting a meal plan exemption due to a documented disability.

Step 1: Dietitian consult to determine if dietary needs can be met. This meeting will be documented and used as a reference tool.

Step 2: If, at the conclusion of this meeting, Dining Services determines that the student’s dietary needs cannot be met, then a student may apply for a meal plan exemption.  This process requires students to complete a request form (see attached) and provide appropriate medical documentation.

Step 3: Exemption request will be reviewed jointly by Disability Services, Residence Life, and Sodexo Dining Services. A follow-up meeting may be scheduled to discuss specific needs and establish a plan. Student will be notified of outcome.   An appeals process will be provided to the student.

For questions related to disability accommodation requests and Disability Services support please contact Joanne Benica, Director, Disability Services at 207-780-4706 or joanne.benica@maine.edu.

For questions regarding general meal plan options please contact Lorrie Mininger, Administrator at 207-780-5762 or lorrie.mininger@sodexo.com

For questions related to Sodexo Dining Services please contact either Tadd Stone, General Manager at 207-780-5421 or tadd.stone@sodexo.com or Chelsea Champagne, District Dietitian at chelsea.champagne@sodexo.com

Request for Disability Accommodation


To request a disability-based accommodation, requires students complete a request form and provide appropriate medical documentation from a licensed health care practitioner. Documentation should include:

  • Name, credential and contact information of the provider,
  • The nature of the disability and the functional impact in the context of the dietary environment (i.e. what difficulty might the student experience related to their condition?),
  • and current treatment.

The documentation should be current (within the last year) and on professional letterhead or provided via submission of the Provider Meal Plan Modification Form.  This form may be obtained by  contacting the Disability Services Center at 207-780-4706 or by emailing dsc-usm@maine.edu.  Forms should be returned by email or by fax at (207) 780-4403.   All documentation will reside in the DSC. Disability Services may refer student to Campus Dietitian, Chelsea, to create an individualized plan with dining services. In this case, medical documentation may be shared with the Registered Dietitian.   

Your request and supporting documentation will be reviewed by Residence Life, Disability Services, Sodexo Dining Services, and other personnel who may be able to assist in accommodating your needs.  Due to the severity of some allergic reactions, it may be necessary to inform appropriate staff of dietary restrictions. Sodexo Dining staff will be aware of the restriction, not the diagnosis. A follow-up meeting may be scheduled to discuss specific needs and establish a plan.