By Tyreek Jenkins
Complaints about dog feces around campus prompted Dean Michael Kochka to send out a mass email to students on January 9, 2023.
Kochka warned that owners of unregistered pets would face consequences. He also said that some faculty, staff and students were extremely upset about the messes left behind by dogs.
“There are so many people on campus who are super far from home and just want an animal to comfort them,” Freshman Acro and Cheer team member Sydney Gibson said. “It sucks that people who don’t know how to pick up after themselves ruin it for the rest of us.”
Kochka is aware that unregistered pets are on campus but he also understands the need for pets.
“I wouldn’t have such a big problem with animals on campus if people took care and cleaned after their pet,” Kochka said. “I’m an animal lover too.”
“The cleaning staff here shouldn’t have to clean up after someone else’s pet,” he said.
Kochka referred to the student handbook which states that pets must be registered. He also said if unregistered animals are not removed from campus, offenders would be charged for not following the handbook.
“Pets and unapproved animals are not allowed in the residence halls with the exception of fish kept in an aquarium (maximum of one 20-gallon tank or equivalent per room). Students with unauthorized animals must remove the animal immediately and will be charged $250.00 to their student account. Repeat offenders may be charged a higher amount. The responsible student will additionally be billed for extermination fees, cleaning services, and any damage caused by the animals,” according to page 29 of the Student Handbook.
Senior Matthew Cogar, who registered his dog two years ago, said that he respects the rules in the handbook, but he felt like the registration process took too long.
Kochka said that it’s not up to him to change the rule based on pets but was open to the suggestion that students pay for their pet to be on campus instead of registering it as an Emotional Support Animal. However, he said that only the Cabinet and Board of Trustees have the authority to change rules within the handbook.
“I’m following the protocol I read when I was employed here. Every student should follow the handbook.” Kochka said