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Readers Respond

Student Activities try their best

Dear Editor,

I’m a big believer in a citizen’s right to complain; even so, I was disturbed by the editorial, “Student activities disappoints,” in the February 7 Waltonian. I found it to be mean-spirited and uninformed.Part of the problem is that the author didn’t speak with Director of Student Activities Shannon Hartsock. This seems inexcusable since her office is about a minute’s walk downstairs from the Waltonian office, just yards away from the Dining Commons. If anyone had asked, Ms. Hartsock might have told you that the ENTIRE student activities budget for this year was $36,500. So, you can imagine how incredulous she must have felt when she read $50,000 for one weekend of activities referred to as “an extremely low price.” Eastern University is a rich institution, but its riches are in the form of its students, staff, administration, and faculty, and the sanctuary of Christ-centered learning we build together, not in the form of a large financial endowment. People like Shannon Hartsock and the Student Activities Board (SAB) are therefore pressed to fund a year of activities with less money than Messiah can afford to spend in a weekend. I think the SAB does a nearly miraculous (in the loaves & fishes sense of the word) job. With this information in mind, where does your money go? Well, only $7.50 of each resident student’s money went to Student Activities this year. The rest of your $30,000 is going to the myriad other people, facilities, and resources that form the infrastructure for your Christian education and for your year of life in Eastern’s dynamic Christian community. Which is an extremely low price for such an opportunity.Sincerely,Kevin Maness,RD: Penswood

Another way to handle the cats

Dear Editor,A more humane and effective approach to Eastern’s cat problem would have been to implement a Trap, Neuter, and Return program, whereby the cats could have been sterilized, vaccinated, and returned to their campus home. Trapping and euthanizing feral cats is not an effective long-term solution. Contrary to what your article states, it is very rare for feral cats to contract rabies and “other dangerous diseases.” Feral cats pose almost no health risk to humans, especially when they are sterilized, vaccinated and monitored by volunteer caretakers. TNR is being used successfully at campuses all over the country, including Stanford University, where they have seen a dramatic reduction in the cat population and no new feral kittens born since they began the program several years ago. The remaining cats are healthy, happy and coexist with the academic community. It’s a pity that the students and school officials involved did not educate themselves about the alternatives to euthanasia and follow the lead of other schools who have solved the problem more humanely. Alley Cat Allies has an excellent web site on feral cats and TNR. Their web address is www.alleycat.org Sincerely,Mary Ellen Drayer, Voices for Animals, Charlottesville, Virginia

Dear Editor, The Delaware County SPCA should be ashamed. Not only have they propagated misconceptions about outdoor cats, they have killed cats for simply being un-friendly towards humans. The Delaware County SPCA needs to look around and realize that they are way behind the times. Today, progressive animal shelters are implementing Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) management programs for feral cats. TNR is a community solution for a community issue. By working with the caregivers who are feeding cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their home where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace. The kittens young enough to be tamed and the adults who are already tame are placed up for adoption into good homes. Municipalities and college campuses across the country have Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs to manage their populations of outdoor cats. A TNR program with the Eastern cats could have been an opportunity for students and the public to learn more about outdoor cats including how to humanely and effectively decrease their numbers and reduce nuisance behavior , as well as information on disease since these cats have no higher rates of disease than housecats.Since it is likely that there will be more cats on campus this time next year, consider contacting Alley Cat Allies at www.alleycat.org for more information about Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and managing outdoor cats near you.Sincerely,Jessica Frohman, Alley Cat Allies Program Manager

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