Response to 'Pets on campus'

The article published in the September 11 issue entitled “Should pets be allowed on campus with students” brings up an impractical, yet often fantasized, argument. Some colleges do allow pets on campus. The University of Georgia allows pets in apartments and other living facilities, with the exception of residence halls. As a result, it could be argued that Mercer should allow pets in the apartments, like Amanda Barrentine mentioned in that article. However, there are many issues with this suggestion other than destroying campus property. Perhaps there are some solutions that might compensate for the prohibition of pets from all residences on campus.

Pets bring with them a safety hazard in case of defensiveness. Some students may be afraid of pets due to the possibility of attacks. Another issue presented is health. Allergies are very common in response to pets and could cause students to become sick. One suggestion is to put all of the residents with pets in a particular apartment complex or hall in order to eliminate the health issue. However, this could result in numerous other problems such as animal fights or noise disturbances. The noises, as well as the pets themselves, could hinder schoolwork. Pets could hinder schoolwork, and some students may rely too much on their pets for emotional support causing a hindrance in sociability. Such dependencies have even been proven by some scientists to be coping mechanisms for students with serious issues such as depression that need to be treated.

If all of these potential problems are taken out, students would still have to register their pets when applying for housing. Reviewing pet registrations can be a difficult process to decide which pets are allowed. By accepting some, those whose pets fail to be accepted may experience emotional distress and accuse Mercer of being unfair. The task of assigning certain rooms based on pets would be very daunting, and considering the lack of housing on campus as it is, residence life could go without another factor to consider during the process.

Instead of having to deal with the complexity of approving certain pets, assigning rooms based on pets, and all the other effects, it would be more simple and practical to involve animals more on campus. Mercer could invite shelters and pet stores from the Macon community to bring their animals to campus for a day every month, allowing students to play with the pets and learn about getting involved with these businesses/organizations. The University of Georgia has a campus organization called Dawgs with Dogs in which students take on the role of guide dog trainers. Often times, they are seen walking around with puppies. Partnering with local pet shelters or creation of animal-oriented organizations at Mercer could provide an easy compensation for the lack of pets in residences.