Removing campus ban on pets proposed

Madina Seytmuradova

Staff Writer

A resolution proposing to lift the current campus ban on pets in core campus areas was put on docket at the Student Government Association meeting on Tuesday night.

“Troy campus is a social and fun environment where pets should be allowed outside the academic buildings, social buildings and dormitories and residential buildings,” said SGA publicity committee chair Caitlin Smith, a junior political science major from Panama City, Florida, who proposed the resolution.

The no-pet policy on the student and faculty-frequented areas was implemented in March 2014 due to students’ concern over hostile attitude of some animals on campus, and was expected to come into full effect in the course of the next four years.

The policy was not to be strictly enforced but rather impressed upon minds of the trespassers during a 3- to 4-year education period, dean of student services Herbert Reeves said in an interview with the Tropolitan on March 3, 2014.

“I live off campus, and if I could bring them (dogs) on campus to walk them around, that would be great,” said Morgan Knowles, a junior English education major from Mobile. “I don’t think we even have a park outside campus to take them to.”

Knowles also mentioned that different universities install stands with bags that people can use to pick up after their pets.

Smith noted that several studies had found that interaction with animals is emotionally and physically beneficial in lowering stress levels and blood pressure.  She mentioned the possibility of creating a space where students could go to pet and play with animals from the animal shelters.

“These projects are completely free, and they would also help the animals get used to being around people and make them more adoptable,” Smith said.

However, some students and faculty feel that the no-pet policy ensures safety on campus.

“As much as I love dogs, I think they should be excluded from campus,” Michael Orlofsky, professor of English, said.

Orlofsky pointed out the possibility of attacks or accidents involving pets, specifically dogs, as well as the sanitation issues.

Smith addressed this problem by proposing a screening process pets would have to go through before being admitted as a “Troy University dog.”

“They’ll have a special tag or something to go on the leash that will say that they are Troy University dogs, that they aren’t aggressive and they have their vaccinations,” Smith said.

This, Smith said, would ensure that only Troy animals will be able to stroll through campus, as the bright tag or the absence of it would be easily spotted by the staff.

The “Pets On Campus” resolution was placed on docket for the senate’s review before the next meeting’s discussion and voting.

SGA also placed on docket a code of laws amendment that proposed a new medium for SGA elections. The new program SGA is working on will enable students to vote from their personal electronic devices.

According to SGA director of representation Olivia Melton, a junior mathematics and economics major from Orange Beach, a personalized link will be sent to students using the program.

“You log on to your email, and then you click the link and you have to put in a certain information about you for verification, and then you’re able to vote,” Melton said.

The shift from conducting the elections in the SGA office, to students’ PCs and phones, is meant to cut the time students spend on getting to the elections spot and waiting in line, and it should ease the process itself. The overall goal is to increase student involvement.

According to SGA’s constitution and rules committee chair Andrew Dearing, a sophomore criminal justice major from Montgomery, if the resolution passes at next week’s meeting, SGA will implement the system by the fall semester and appoint a committee to monitor the online elections.

Until then, SGA encourages students to participate in what could be the last on-site senate elections next Wednesday, April 6, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the SGA office. Students must have their ID cards to vote.

In addition, the constitutions for the Troy University Chess Club and the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement were reviewed by the SGA senate during the week and approved. At the same meeting, the constitution of the Debate Club was placed on docket.

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