Housing committee seeks to address unauthorized pets

Class of 2017 Senator Amy Currul reported on recent developments in Allegheny Student Government’s ad hoc committee on housing at the ASG general assembly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The committee, according to Currul, has been hearing complaints from students regarding the increasing number of unauthorized animals living in campus housing.

“There seems to be an uptick in the number of unauthorized pets this year, especially cats,” Currul said.

There seems to be an uptick in the number of unauthorized pets this year, especially cats.

— Amy Currul

The presence of pets in any college owned housing, apart from fish and service animals is not allowed, according to the Office of Residence Life website.

Jason Ferrante, vice president of the Class of 2020, said the college housing committee had also mentioned the issue of unauthorized pets on campus and discussed limiting service animals to dogs. Ferrante said Cliff Willis, director of the Physical Plant, told the committee cat urine is much harder to get rid of than dog urine, and often requires that the floor be torn up to eliminate the problem.

When asked to confirm if any such action was being considered, Dean of Students Kimberly Ferguson stated in an email that the committee is focusing on “clarifying the policies related to service animals.” She did not clarify whether the committee is considering limiting service animals to dogs despite being asked multiple times.

Ferguson said the problem is not with service animals, but those who have unauthorized pets on campus.

Director of Student Affairs Sydney Fernandez, ’17,  said and her Co-Director Matt Hartwell, ’18, will be sending an email to Director of Public Safety Ali Awadi following concerns from student regarding the recent elimination of student positions in the office.

“We are going to be sending out an email to Ali Awadi about the student switchboard operators,” Fernandez said.

The position of student switchboard operators was eliminated on Oct. 26, 2016. Awadi said the reason was to limit liability, as students could become privy to confidential information.

Fernandez said they hoped to set up a meeting with Awadi to discuss the concerns she and Hartwell have heard from constituents about the layoff. She said on Thursday, Nov. 3 that Awadi had responded saying he would be happy to meet with Fernandez and Hartwell, but felt he had addressed the matter in a recent article in The Campus.

President Tess Bracken, ’17, said she received a request from the college’s housing committee to put together a list of the top dorms in need of repairs or renovations.

After a short discussion, it was decided the dorms most in need of renovations were Baldwin Hall, Brooks Hall, Caflisch Hall and Walker Hall.

For Baldwin Hall, several members of ASG, including Senator Alexa Porche, ’19,  brought up concerns regarding the condition and functionality of bathrooms.

One senator also noted chipping paint on her heater in Caflisch. She said Physical Plant told her it was led paint.

For Walker, members of ASG, including Director of Finance Luke McBride, ’18, noted unresolved mouse and rat infestations.

During her cabinet report, Director of Diversity and Inclusivity Miranda Wilkins, ’20, voiced the idea for a project brought up in a recent meeting of the Council on Diversity and Equity.

Wilkins said an idea was proposed in which students with left over Munch Money at the end of the semester could donate the funds to students who had run out without embarrassing them.

“It would be anonymous, so it removes the stigma,” Wilkins said.

Hartwell said he believes it is a good idea, but cautioned that Parkhurst Dining Services may rely on those students who do not use all of their available funds.

Vice President Sofia Kaufman, ’17, voiced her support for the idea, and encouraged Wilkins to pursue the initiative.

The Class of 2018 appointed a new senator to fill the vacancy that arose after Mollie McDermott, ’18, was appointed Director of Organizational Development on Oct. 18, 2016. Alex Reganata, ’18, was approved to fill the vacant senate seat by a unanimous vote of the senate.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, The Campus identified Amy Currul as the president of the Class of 2017. She is a senator for the Class of 2017. Jason Ferrante, ’20, was also named as the president of the Class of 2020. He is the vice president. Updated Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, at 12:33 p.m.