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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Disability Services updates on-campus ESA procedures

Students express concern, anger towards new rules.
Disability+Services+updates+on-campus+ESA+procedures
Joleigh Martinez/NW

This semester, NMU has implemented two new emotional support animal (ESA) rules and procedures for students living in on-campus housing. The first regulation requires all cat and dog ESAs to be at least 12 months old and be spayed or neutered. 

“The rule that an ESA must be at least 12 months old and spayed or neutered is something that is a general rule across campuses in the country,” Coordinators of Disability Services Jenny Lindsey and Rena Gregorich said. “It cuts down on destructive behavior and it ensures that the animal is adequately trained.”

The second change in ESA requirements on campus is that all ESAs must be locked in a crate whenever the owner is not in the living space. 

According to Lindsey and Gregorich, these rules are common at other universities and abide by the Fair Housing Act. The main reasons behind these changes were concern for health and safety, including the safety of the ESAs themselves.

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“There have been several concerns regarding lost ESAs on campus. When NMU maintenance is called into a room, several animals have run out,” Lindsey and Gregorich said. “It’s a standard safety protocol that maintenance works with the doors open.”

By requiring all ESAs to be in a crate, the responsibility of roommates to look after the ESA is also reduced. 

“Disability Services has received several complaints from roommates of students with ESAs that they have been left to care for and clean up after the ESA,” Lindsey and Gregorich said. “They do not want the added responsibility of caring for the ESA, but they are not comfortable talking to their roommate about it.”

However, despite the intentions of improved health and safety behind these changes, some students with ESAs have felt the rules are unjust. Third year student Ava Kyer has her ESA, Elliot, in her room with her but is often out for long periods of time for classes and other commitments. 

“My first thing was, how is Elliot supposed to go to the bathroom?  I can’t leave her in a cage,” Kyer said. “I’m just really angry about it … especially when [Elliot] goes in any sort of confined space, it stresses her out and she digs to try and get out. So, putting her in a cage would actually be worse for her.”

Kyer is worried that having her ESA in a cage for hours at a time would have a significant negative impact on both Kyer and Elliot.

“She wouldn’t have water. She can’t use the bathroom. She’s gonna hurt herself,” Kyer said. “When she’s out, she spends a lot of time sleeping on my bed or under my bed.”

According to Disability Services, there is no size restriction on the size of the mandatory crate for the ESA, as long as it does not infringe on the space of the roommate. They also emphasized that the ESA is the responsibility of the owner and not other students. 

However, Kyer does not have to worry about having a shared space since she lives on her own and feels the crate requirement infringes instead on her and Elliot’s space.

“It just made me really upset and angry,” Kyer said. “It’s really not a big deal right now because I live by myself, so I don’t have to worry about people coming in and out of my room when I’m not there [and Elliot getting out].”

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About the Contributors
Ava Sehoyan
Ava Sehoyan, Assistant News Editor
Hey!! I'm Ava Sehoyan and this is my third year at NMU. I'm beginning my first semester at the North Wind. I study environmental studies and sustainability as well as journalism. I grew up on Mackinac Island, Michigan, and continue to live there with my family! I wrote articles and took photographs for the Mackinac Island Town Crier as a sophomore in high school and fell in love with journalism. I have always loved words and grew up reading and writing. In my free time, I still love to read, write, spend time outdoors, discover new music and go to the thrift store. I can't wait to get to know this community and tell the stories of Marquette!
Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn, Features Writer
The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even started yet but I knew if there was one place I was going to be in college, it was going to be in the news room helping create an archive of campus life. Being a part of the North Wind has shown me a sides of NMU that I would not have known existed otherwise and has given me a platform to raise up the stories of those who are often overlooked. After being a copy editor, features editor and now the editor-in-chief, I feel so grateful to be a part of an excellent staff and have the opportunity to learn, grow, and make mistakes along side a great support system.