by Jaclyn Roco
The University of La Verne this month created a new animal policy to address the problem of pets on campus.
The policy was sent via e-mail to all employees on campus and states that only animals that are “trained to assist individuals” or who are “under control of an academic department” are allowed to stay on University grounds.
Oris Barber, director of human resources, said that the policy’s approval was inevitable because pets at school can be a liability.
“I’ve been here for 15 years,” Barber said, “and I can’t recall any problems of animals on campus, but it is time to look ahead.”
“We (can’t) ignore definite complaints of people who honestly don’t like pets. There are a few out there who are fearful of animals and who have medical reasons to avoid them. The work environment, the education environment, is not a proper place for pets because of these factors.”
Barber said that the policy went into effect immediately after it was sent out Nov. 8.
“The e-mail went to hundreds of people that work in the University. It went to all the University buildings, and I only received four responses,” he said.
Responses included advice to change the wording of the policy and questions as to whether the policy included the removal of goldfish on any of the University grounds.
“I spent a lot of time crafting the message here, trying not to offend anybody,” Barber said, “but I hadn’t thought to address the issue of goldfish.”
“Goldfish aren’t a problem. Don’t worry about your goldfish,” he said.
Barber also said that the policy affects students who live in the dorms.
“We’re trying to protect people from harm,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is not unique. Other universities have policies that mirror this.”
Student reactions were mixed.
“We should be allowed to have pets if our roommate agrees to it,” said Oaks resident Amy Wolf.
“Maybe if it’s something that can live in a cage. Obviously people shouldn’t have a dog in a room as small as this, but if it’s a pet that your parents agree to let you have at home, then I guess it would be okay to have it at school,” she added.
John Chon, another Oaks resident, disagreed. He said that he didn’t believe animals should be allowed in the residence rooms at all.
“You can’t do that,” he said. “You can’t bring animals here.”