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Should pets be allowed on Beloit College campus?

By Courtney Bingham, Jamie Lepito, Sydney Mercado, and Vince Zhang

One   of   the   saddest   parts   about   leaving   home   for   college   is   saying   goodbye   to   a   loved   pet.   According   to   the  Beloit  College  pet  policy,   “Pets,   other   than   fish   in   an   aquarium,  are  not  allowed  to be  on  campus  with  students”.   Although   qualified   students   are   allowed   to   have   therapy   animals,   these   are   not   considered  pets  due  to  their   service  status. Allowing   pets   on   campus,   while   maybe   unconventional,   is   not   uncharted   among   colleges.   Eckerd   College   in   Southern   Florida,   for   example,   allows students   to   own   pets   on campus   and   even   has   a   full-­ time  Pet  Life  Staff.

By   recognizing   and   authorizing   the   possession   of   pets   on   campus,   Eckerd   is   able   to   regulate   possible   adverse   consequences   because   students   who   own   pets  are  not  afraid  to  ask  for   help.

Controversy   regarding   pets   on   campus   tends   to   revolve   around   problems arising   over   students   with   allergies   or   who   are   afraid   of   animals.   This   would   be   resolved   with   regulations   such   as   housing   restrictions   to   allocate   specific   “pet-­ friendly”   as   well   as   “pet-­ free”   spaces   on   campus.   With   such   an   exclusive   pet   policy   and   the   secrecy   of   pets   on   campus   now,   there   is   no   way   of   knowing   where an  animal  will  or  will  not  be. Another   example   of   a   school   with   guidelines   in   place   to   monitor   pet   ownership   on   their   campus   is  Reed  College.  It  is  a  small   liberal   arts   school   similar   to   Beloit   located   in   Oregon.   According   to   their   Pet   and   Animal   Guidelines,   “If   a   roommate  [of  the  pet  owning   student]   or   community   member   is   allergic,   the   pet   will   not   be   permitted   to   reside   in   the   room   and/or   common  spaces.”

Students   at   Reed   have   to   register   their   pet   with   Residential   Life   ahead   of   the   pet’s   arrival   on   campus.   The   school   has   the   right   to   ask  students  to  remove  their   pet   from   campus   at   any   time.   The   Pet   and   Alumni   Guidelines   of   Reed   College   also   state,   “Pets   must   remain   in   the   resident   pet   owner’s  room  unless  there  is   explicit   agreement   from   the   community   that   the   pet   can   be   in   common   spaces.   Pets   are  not  permitted  in  kitchen   spaces.” Since   students   have   and   will  continue  to  have  “illegal   pets”   on   campus,   it   is   in   the   best   interest   for   the   safety   of   students   to   allow   pets   so   the   details   that   would   otherwise  be  unchecked  can   be  controlled  by  the  college.

Beloit   College   prides itself   in   its   advocacy   of experiential   learning,   with   the   Liberal   Arts   in   Practice   Center   being   an   office   designed   specifically   for   the   advancement   of   such.   The   experience   of   caring   for   an   animal   outside   of   the   home   environment  offers  a  unique   opportunity  for  students  to   grow   individually   by   caring   for   something   other   than   themselves.

Provided   emotional   support  animals  are  allowed   on   Beloit   College   campus.   According   to   Learning   Enrichment   &   Disability   Services   (LEAD)   and   Residential   Life   policies,   “under   the   Fair   Housing   Act   (FHA),   a   person   with   a   disability   may   keep   an   emotional   support   animal   in   the   individual’s   dwelling  when  there  is  an  established   need   for   the   therapeutic   nature   of   the   animal   that   is   connected  to  the  individual’s   disability”.   The   biggest   hurdle  for  students  applying   for   a   therapy   animal   is   getting   documentation   for   mental   illness.   Some   students   do   not   have   accessibility   for   insurance   to   prove  their  eligibility.

In   addition,   EMS   animals   are   not   concerned   as   pets.   What’s   the   difference   between   an   EMS   animal   and   a   pet?   Although   they   functionality   serve   different   roles,   there   is   no   physical   difference.   As   mentioned   in   the   article,   “Why   Pets   Should   Be   Allowed   in   College   Dorms”   on   The   Odyssey,   pets   help   with  loneliness   and   depression,   while   also   serving   as   a   form   of   stress   relief.   Whether   or   not   someone   has   a   mental   illness,   college   is   a   stressful   time   that   can   be   improved   by  having  a  pet.

The   solution   for   pets   on   Beloit   College   campus   is   to   have   a   better   pet   policy   that   is   inclusive   to   those   who   do   not   qualify   to   have   a   registered   therapy   animal.This   policy   will   help   students   enjoy   being   in   the   presence   of   their   lovely   cat.   The   possible   policies   that   can   get   put   in   place   are   an   additional   fee   for   students   with   pets,   regulation   on   the   types   of   pets   are   allowed,   and  a  special  dorm  or  house   for  students  with  pets  among   other  things.

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