According to the April 21, 2010 issue of The Reflector, the campus had a strict policy forbidding animals in campus buildings at any time. Animals were allowed on campus grounds, but not at events; regardless of whether or not the events were indoors.
The ban on pets came down to a liability issue, The Reflector said. If someone was bit or hurt by an animal it could pose risk for a lawsuit against the university.
Currently, UIndy allows students to have pets on campus with some exceptions. According to UIndy’s Animal on Campus Policy, animals may be kept on campus if they are emotional support or service animals. Students may also keep non-aggressive fish in ten-gallon tanks, according to the policy.
Those who wish to have a pet on campus at UIndy must sign the Student Affairs Pet Policy Agreement. The agreement covers topics such as pests, examinations and responsibility for the pet’s actions.
“I assume any and all liability and responsibility for any actions of, or related to, said pet. Neither Student Affairs nor the University of Indianapolis shall be responsible for providing for any pet,” the agreement says.
According to the UIndy Pet Policy, pets such as Emotional Support Animals or service animals may be kept in a private student residence or the campus apartments, Greyhound Village and University Lofts.
“Only cats, dogs and caged hedgehogs, hamsters and gerbils are allowed. Cats and dogs must weigh under 35 pounds at all times,” the policy says. “Before acquiring a pet, the live in professional staff member must discuss their plans with the Assistant Director of Residence Life and/or Association Dean of Students and receive prior approval.”
Since the allowance of ESAs on campus in 2018, students have said having an ESA is essential to their life on campus. UIndy freshman communication major Alli Cook said that her ESA, a cat named Pigeon, has been something that she needed.
Cook said that she was scared that she would not be able to bring Pigeon to campus with her because it is a long process to get approved for having an ESA. Having her cat in her suite has been a positive experience for her and her roommates, she said.
“Having animals on campus is actually really important. For a lot of students emotional well being, for my well-being,” Cook said. “[ESAs] are a nice reason to come back to your dorm and rest.”
A report by News Record showed having pets on campus can significantly reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety for students. Students who had a pet on campus reported feeling less lonely, anxious and unhealthy, according to News Record. Having a pet such as a dog on campus can also increase exercise for students, according to The Station.
Cook said that she finds it strange that pets were banned on campus, considering how essential they are to student’s mental health. According to Cook, the process for getting an ESA worked out well for her.
“I’ve really appreciated having [Pigeon] on campus with me this year. And I think a lot of people on my floor have as well,” Cook said.