Caring university

I am nearly ready to go outside. But there are some things left that are frightening. I am writing this in hopes that my individual opinion will bring the University Campus Environmental Committee to action again, to liberate me from my fears and to ultimately protect us all. I sign my name to this even though I readily admit my motivation is fear. Good things come of fear. We are rid of the geese supposedly to protect the grass (although student paths scar every area of campus) and to be rid of the droppings. More likely it is fear of litigation that has prompted long-needed action.

Ruth Koerner, had she considered the litigious atmosphere of our society, could most certainly have sued NIU for not posting signs around the pond saying she could step in the goose droppings and get histoplasmosis. After all, a California couple who had abandoned their child in a park in Orange County sued the park and won two million dollars because their daughter was mauled by a mountain lion and there were no signs posted to warn of the possibility of this.

Someone at the university saw the good sense in her claim that there was “a place for God’s creatures” and by implication it was not on university grounds. Out of fear they decided to make changes. I cheer the university’s actions but I am writing to say there is a need for more. There are rabbits by Reavis Hall. My earlier sense of satisfaction at seeing a thing of nature, the lightness of what I almost considered to be a kind of soul within me, has since been displaced. I can no longer visualize their chewing, their hard stare, how they are considering me, without a return of my horror.

There are only just the rabbits now. I have not seen a squirrel, and although I saw a rat once coming out of a dumpster, it was a long time ago. I am comfortable with ducks, especially now that I know there are caring people on this campus who will alert me to any possible dangers they may pose, and protect me from the unpredictable side effects of nature.

Dale Stephens

Graduate Student