Editor's note: A previous version of this article said in the info box that emotional support animals and service animals are allowed in campus and residence buildings. In actuality, emotional support animals are only allowed in apartment and residence hall rooms of a student with approval. The story has been changed to reflect that correction.
Black Beauty sits at home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, temporarily separated from her owner.
“I just feel like a bad cat mom every time I come home,” said Katrina Brown, senior sociology and English literature double major, who has to leave her pet cat at home while she attends Ball State.
Brown has lived in the Village Promenade (VP) for two years. This off-campus apartment complex does not allow pets.
“Most people I know have pets that they would bring if they could, but it's just not possible,” Brown said.
Service animals are not classified as pets and are allowed inside campus and residence buildings. Emotional support animals are only allowed in apartments and residence hall rooms that have been approved where the student resides.
They serve as an example for any future pet-related decisions made on campus, Wilkey said. Seeing the benefits from emotional support animals gives the idea that having an animal works for the resident.
Soon, however, Ball State’s apartment complexes will be allowing residents to house pets. Anthony and Scheidler apartments will enact a new resident pet policy for the 2019-20 academic year.
Prior to the new policy, University Apartments followed the same guidelines as the residence halls — meaning only marine life in freshwater aquariums were allowed.
It wasn’t until enough students and faculty showed an interest to form a proposal that Ball State considered implementing it.
“Having a pet is one of those things that you take for granted at home,” Brown said.
Under the new policy, students can go through an approval process if they wish to have their pet live with them in the apartment. Following the approval of the animal(s), a $200 pet deposit is required along with a monthly pet fee of $25 per animal, according to the apartments’ Pet Policy & Agreement Form.
Brown said, had she done more research, she would have chosen an apartment that allows pets so she could also live with her girlfriend, who owns a dog herself.
“Cats aren’t great with moving,” Brown said. “[Black Beauty]’s pretty scittish anyway, but she can be comfortable. I think she would be OK in the long run.”
Lisa Walker, assistant director of University Apartments, assesses the business side of the complex along with the pet approval process. After the proposal was put together, she said it was accepted by Ball State within a month.
“Our competition in the Muncie area as well as the resident’s interest helped to bring up the idea of the policy,” Walker said.
Although no resident has registered a pet yet, she said nearly a dozen residents signing for the upcoming fall semester have inquired about the new policy.
With the new pet policy in place, Anthony and Scheidler apartments will be the only on-campus housing complexes to allow both service and non-service animals.
“It wasn’t that we didn’t want to have pets, it was just an extra layer of what had already been done at the [University] apartments,” said Chris Wilkey, assistant director of University Apartments. “Essentially, it hadn’t been brought up as a need.”
The apartments will allow common domestic pets such as cats and dogs, but the final decision comes down to the size of the animal, Walker said.
Plans for allowing pets in on-campus residence halls have not been mentioned due to the close proximity of residents not serving as enough living space for the animal, Walker said.
“The apartments typically serve as a test ground for policies that then get adapted to the campus,” Wilkey said.
Walker said University Apartments plans to assess the issues and the data following the enactment of the policy in order to see what the future holds.
“We want people to live as they want to live.” Wilkey said.
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