Students are fractured over the presence of dogs on campus and in classrooms after a notice was sent out reminding students that no dogs except guide dogs are allowed in buildings.
Provost and Dean of Faculty Mary-Ann Milford sent out the notice on Nov. 16, which stated, “Dogs are not allowed inside any buildings on the Mills Campus, this includes all classrooms and offices, except guide dogs for the blind and disabled.” The reasons cited were allergies and fleas. The response, she said, “has been very interesting.”
“It was literally right down the center,” said Milford. Fifty percent of the replies, she said, were from people who “took exception” to the notice, while the other 50 percent were “so thankful.” They were people who had allergies, were uncomfortable around dogs or found them distracting, she said, but didn’t want to say anything for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.
“It’s rude to think it’s okay to bring a dog to class and disrespectful to the professors,” said Melissa, a senior who declined to give a last name.
“I can understand how it’s inconvenient for the people who have dogs,” said junior Emily Wilheim, referring to how some people bring their dogs to campus because they can’t find someone to watch them. Wilheim is allergic to dogs and said, “It’s a relief to not have another allergen-inducer in my environment.”
According to online health resource WebMD, allergies to animals may not subside until months after ending contact with the animal.
“People don’t stop being allergic to dogs just because they’re service dogs,” said sophomore Saranique Schwartz of the reasons given for not allowing dogs inside buildings unless they are service dogs for the disabled. Schwartz owns Kahlo, a female Chihuahua. “So either they need to not allow dogs at all, or they need to allow dogs.”
Schwartz also found the e-mail discriminatory because it only mentioned dogs for the blind and disabled when “people have dogs on campus for other reasons.”
People who bring their dogs on campus have their dogs on flea treatments because the campus has fleas, said Schwartz. “If Mills wants to get rid of fleas, they need to get rid of the rats and feral cats.”
The Weekly‘s Arts editor Glodean Champion, a senior, is spearheading the organization of a doggie daycare. Her dog, Maxx, a three-year old Tibetan terrier, attended such a daycare from when he was three months old to a year. “It would be great for people who don’t have dogs but like to play with dogs to come and volunteer their time,” Champion said.
The difficult thing, said Champion, will be coordinating the schedule and also finding space. She is currently looking at the grassy area behind the Mary Atkins lounge as well as another space behind the Student Union, but there also needs to be an indoor space for when it is raining or cold, she said. A meeting is scheduled for Dec 5 at 12:15 p.m., where Champion expects to discuss scheduling and costs.