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College Search: Which Colleges Really Do A Good Job W/gluten-free?
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My daughter is a HS junior and has begun her college search. She has been gluten-free for 9 years. She also has other food allergies.

Obviously, the competance of the dining services will be a major part of her college decision. Does any one have any input on what colleges are really good or not good at handling gluten-free diets and food allergies?

She is primarily interested in schools in the Northeast and possibly the mid-atlantic area.

We would love some input from people with recent, first hand experience either attending college or who have recently visited.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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My daughter is a HS junior and has begun her college search. She has been gluten-free for 9 years. She also has other food allergies.

Obviously, the competance of the dining services will be a major part of her college decision. Does any one have any input on what colleges are really good or not good at handling gluten-free diets and food allergies?

She is primarily interested in schools in the Northeast and possibly the mid-atlantic area.

We would love some input from people with recent, first hand experience either attending college or who have recently visited.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

My niece attends Ithaca College in N.Y.  She absolutely raves about their gluten-free food program.  They have a separate area where the gluten-free food is stored and only certain people have access to that area.  You can order meals on-line with the cafeteria.  There are also numerous places in town where the college is, which offer gluten-free options like a cafe and restaurants.  She loves it there and it's only her freshman year.  The other wonderful thing is that my niece is not officially diagnosed but definitely has a gluten issue and the school accepts that....no "Gold Standard" testing needed.  She went gluten-free when I was diagnosed and the difference in this kid is amazing.  She had gut and neuro and behavior problems galore.

 

Good luck!

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First off, she will need official documentation for her gluten free diet (celiac or intolerence?), and allergies from her doctor. She will also need to meet with each school's disability office to discuss accomodations.

As for schools themselves, i have no idea.

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Thank you so much Gemini ~ Ithaca is on her list of schools to visit over April vacation. This info will make her so happy :)

Did your niece consider any other schools that seemed to "get" the gluten-free thing?

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If they cannot accomodate normally then a student is placed in a housing option with access to a kitchen.

Generally speaking of course.

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I am sorry for the late reply....been a little too busy of late!  I know my niece went to other schools for a look but didn't really say too much about them because

when she saw Ithaca and heard about their gluten-free program, that was it.  All the others went out the window.  All I can offer is that schools in the Northeast seem to be more gluten-free friendly because Celiac is more acknowledged here.  Boston is a very gluten-free friendly city, along with many others here.  The number of restaurants offering good options and safe places to eat are exploding.  Sure, it's money driven but so isn't everything else in life.  Not all colleges require the official documentation, either.  I think that will go by the wayside soon so don't let that bother you if you don't have an official diagnosis.  Kids have all sorts of food allergies and intolerances and no one questions a peanut allergy.  Within 10 years, I can see this being the norm.

 

My niece loves Ithaca and has no trouble eating gluten-free there at all.  She is not officially diagnosed, either. They take good precautions with food handling also....this from my niece who is good to stay on top of that.  I wish you luck and hope your daughter finds her perfect fit!

Thank you so much Gemini ~ Ithaca is on her list of schools to visit over April vacation. This info will make her so happy :)

Did your niece consider any other schools that seemed to "get" the gluten-free thing?

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Thanks Gemini,

She is going to look at Ithaca this summer. She also heard back from Colgate and Holy Cross dining services people. They both seem very accomdating and are going to meet with us and give us a tour of their facilities this week.

We are feeling much more confident that she will find a school that "gets it."

I'll keep posting as we go for others who may be looking for similar info in the future.

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Thanks Gemini,

She is going to look at Ithaca this summer. She also heard back from Colgate and Holy Cross dining services people. They both seem very accomdating and are going to meet with us and give us a tour of their facilities this week.

We are feeling much more confident that she will find a school that "gets it."

I'll keep posting as we go for others who may be looking for similar info in the future.

That's wonderful!  I think as each year goes by, more and more colleges will accommodate the right way.  It's in their best interest to do so.  There's too many of us out there!  :ph34r:

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We toured all the Boston schools in the Spring of 2010 -- my celiac son felt "safest" with the answers we received and what we saw in the dinning facilities of Northeastern.  I think Gemini is right -- things are improving on all college campus as awareness is spreading.

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My son is finishing up his freshman year, living on campus and eating in the dining halls, at Penn State UP. He has a frig and microwave in his room, for starters. I was really skeptical at first (and we had visited Ithaca, and it is impressive) but he has had a great year. All the dining halls have a gluten free station that is stocked with pasta, chicken, etc. and desserts, sides....there is also a nutrition intern who codes the main menu for gluten-free options and that is emailed to gluten-free students (who self-identify, there's no need for documentation). There's not a lot in the main menu that's gluten-free, but the station has been more than adequate for him. His dining hall of choice knows him on sight (this is a big deal on a big campus) and is very cooperative about tweaking things to suit him. The commons convenience store, for example, at his dorm started stocking yogurt and KIND bars for him when he kept buying those. There's a tasting session each semester for new products, and the dh manager contacts him regularly to see how he's doing. It's not perfect (we're local, so I bring him a stash of gluten-free homemades to supplement) but it's very good. You don't have to order ahead, either (this used to be the case apparently, but that was changed when the students kept complaining it wasn't practical)

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Hi -- I found the full DOJ settlement for Lesely Unive. Your child has the right to choose any college and they are required by law to accomodate the dietary restrictions. I read a couple of news stories but didn't realize how wide the decision goes until I read the brief.

 

A recent settlement agreement between the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") and Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts explicitly extends the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") to individuals with severe allergies and autoimmune conditions such as celiac disease. The position of the DOJ Civil Rights Division reflected in this precedential settlement agreement shows that every entity serving food to the public, leasing to those who serve food and even employers with cafeterias must consider how ADA requirements may affect what food is offered, how it is prepared and even how it is stored.

 

Title III of the ADA -

 

Title III of the ADA prohibits public accommodations (defined in the statute to include, among others, healthcare providers, hotels and establishments serving food, movies, theaters or other entertainment venues, public displays or collections, retail and service establishments and educational institutions) from discriminating against disabled individuals by impeding their access to full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services or programs offered by the establishment, and requires them to make reasonable accommodations to their policies, practices and procedures as necessary to provide full and equal access. For many years, ADA accommodation in educational institutions has focused on the needs of students with learning disabilities or for physical access. The DOJ's broadly-worded settlement agreement with Lesley University creates a new set of accommodation issues for schools and, more importantly, for most facilities of any kind serving food.

 

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/act-now-advisory-doj-serves-notice-cel-90529/

 

The key components of the sweeping and costly three-year  settlement agreement
require Lesley University to:
• Provide “nutritionally comparable” hot and cold gluten and allergen-free meals to
students with celiac disease and food allergies
• Take reasonable steps to avoid cross-contamination of the allergen-free food,
including preparing such meals in a dedicated space at one of the dining halls;
• Permit students with celiac disease or allergies to pre-order meals made without
gluten or specific allergens by emailing the University’s Food Services Manager
24 hours in advance;
• Serve the pre-ordered meals at the central dining hall in which they are prepared,
or deliver them (with 24 hours notice) to students at other dining halls or campus
food eateries;
• Provide students with food allergies a separate area to store and prepare food: a
room adjacent to the dining hall to which access is limited to those with  food
allergies, containing a sink and counter area, kitchen supplies, refrigerator and
freezer, cabinet space, separate appliances such as a microwave and toaster,
and a food warmer to keep pre-ordered meals warm;
• Permit students to submit to the university’s food service provider individualized
“shopping lists” of requested food made without allergens;
• Exempt students from the mandatory meal plan as a possible form of reasonable
modification;
• Train food service managers and staff to comply with the settlement agreement
and provide educational training on celiac disease and food allergies;
• Keep records of all students who request accommodations for food allergies; and
• Pay $50,000 to the complaining students.

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