The Tropolitan’s view on the pet ban: A compromise that works for everyone should be made

Editorial Board

Tuesday, the Student Government Association’s proposed bill for removing the pet ban on campus was turned down.

However, the ban has caused quite a stir from the student body — even among the Tropolitan staff.

The pet-on-campus ban seems to be dear to many of our staff’s hearts, and we think it may also be of interest to our readers. Therefore, we want to chime in and give some input in the conversation about the ban or its removal.

Although there are staff members who have a hard “yes” or “no” on the ban, we think instead of pitching for or against pet-on-campus, we should devise some compromise that works for everybody. We understand that the compromise may limit everyone’s entitlement (to absolutely have a pet or ban pets on campus), though a compromise will make sure that no one’s entitlement is curtailed significantly. We believe students (and faculty and staff) are entitled to this public university equally; therefore, there should be a balance where everyone’s interests and concerns are taken into consideration.

Some of our staff members are terrified of dogs of any kind and genuinely feel unsafe if dogs are allowed to roam campus. We would like to acknowledge this fear and recognize that this is a legitimate concern. We also have pet (specifically dog)-lovers on staff who believe it can be both enjoyable and harmless to walk their pets on campus.

The current SGA bill calls for “the ban of pets on campus to be lifted and changed to allow them to be on any outside campus areas, excluding the inside of any academic, social, or dormitory buildings.”

With this, we suggest that the ban be in place for the Quad and the social quad, which are unavoidable when students and faculty walk to many academic buildings and to the Trojan Center. The rest of the outdoor campus can be pet-friendly, where pet-lovers can walk and play with their pets. Troy University has a relatively big campus, and this should not curtail too much of students’ freedom to enjoy a nice day out with their pets on campus.

Another concern about allowing pets on campus is the matter of cleaning up their waste. We want to think that college students are responsible adults who pick up after ourselves. Yet, we all know that one roommate, or a sister, or a resident our RA has talked about who is an absolute slob. We should have high expectations of our students; however, we should count on reality to devise our plan. The reality is that there will be people who will not pick up after their pets.

An argument was made that if waste cans were installed, people would clean up and put their pets’ waste there. Walk through the Edge or the Pointe where those cans are actually in place, and you can see for yourself that the argument does not hold. College students can be a mess.

Since the bill already proposes that students must get their pets approved through a scanning program and pay a fee to receive a Troy University pet tag, our suggestion is to have such fees cover a cleaning team who will be paid to daily clean up specifically pet waste on our campus. It is worth noting that students who opt to not have pets on campus should not be made to pay for the cleaning team through the general university fee or any other way. This will help keep our campus attractive and avoid the tragedy of the commons.

This way, everyone can enjoy our campus without limiting too much others’ entitlement to enjoy their time at Troy University.

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