Many students living on campus defy housing policy

Nov 6, 2008 by Sarah Aranda NMSU Round Up

Living on campus has its perks. You spend no money driving to class, have nearby laundry facilities, and can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner a building away.

However, some campus residents hardly leave their room.

Some NMSU campus residents, despite pet policies established by the housing department, are not all human. Some students have brought their furry friends along when moving into student housing.

Jesus Quintero, a sophomore studying business administration, said he has many friends who have lived on campus and after visiting dorm rooms, has seen pets throughout the dormitories.

“They knew about the rules,” Quintero said, “but they didn’t care and risked it because they think they have the right.”

Quintero said he has seen cats, dogs, ferrets and even a snake in dorm rooms.

“It doesn’t bother anyone,” Quintero said. “I think its fine as long as they clean up after them.”

According to the housing department’s Web site, with the exception of fish kept in an aquarium, students living in dormitories are not allowed to have pets.

The student housing pet policy lists pet restrictions. Keeping a pet must be approved by the department of housing and residential life.

Students who wish to keep pets in Sutherland Village, Tom Fort, Cole Village and Cervantes Villages must sign and submit a Housing and Residential Life Pet Ownership Agreement, present proof of license of the pet and a provide $100 deposit.

NMSU student Jennifer Williams is a student who lives in the Chamisa Village Apartments. She and her roommate have two rabbits, three hamsters and three fish in their on-campus apartment.

Williams said some residential advisers don’t care if students have pets, while others do and will automatically write up students once discovering the animals.

“Tons of people have pets and no one finds out,” Williams said. “So what’s the difference between having them and [housing] not knowing, and just letting us have them?

The housing department’s pet policy introduction says studies conducted in nursing homes and among the public have shown pet owners have lower stress levels than non-pet owners.

The policy states, “Pets encourage consistent exercise, improved quality of life, and help in bringing families and communities together.”

“Some people do get attached to pets,” Williams said. “They’re more than just an animal. This is part of your family. Some people just don’t get that.”

Williams suggested the housing department create new pet policies. She said she believes small animals like rabbits and hamsters should be allowed because they are animals that can be caged.

“We could just let housing know what kind of animals you have and maybe they can arrange for you to live next to people who don’t mind being around them,” Williams said.

Other ideas she had included making sure the animals have their shots, and that rules are enstilled to make sure neighbors aren’t allergic.

“You want to live on campus because you’re so close to classes, but it’s hard having your pet taken away from you just because you have to go to school,” Williams said. “The idea that an animal depends on you is nice to come home to. Animals are great and they’re great companions.”

Officials for the housing department were unable to answer questions regarding pets on campus.

Christopher Lee, resident director for Student Family Housing did not return phone calls.

*Jenniffer Williams’ name was changed to protect her identity.

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