This column is one half of a head-to-head. Read the opposing view here.
I am not one to disregard mental or physical disability. If one’s state of body or mind requires a service animal to function, they have that right. People with disabilities should be able to have that aid because they cannot function without it. The merit of service animals and their owners is tainted when a person reduced to their anxiety feels the need to take their emotional support animal with them wherever they go. Emotional support animals should never be allowed in the classroom.
Shaming anxiety, depression or any other mental disability is not my goal. These are real mental issues people go through, and as someone who suffers from anxiety I get the appeal of having a furry companion by my side in the classroom. However, it’s just a ridiculous concept. Just like most of the population, I recognize my anxiety and do not allow it to define me. If you actually feel the need to have an animal to emotionally support yourself, congratulations, you just bent your knees to your mentality. Having a dog is cool and is a proven to boost moral and endorphins, but that doesn’t mean you need a pooch following you around disrupting others.
You do not need an animal to support you emotionally throughout your day at school unless diagnosed by a doctor. Last year I sat in a lecture hall with not one, but four adorable pups lying about the lecture hall. As cute as they are, I don’t need a retriever barking in the corner during my anthropology lecture. It doesn’t need a lot of context: having your animal in a lecture hall is distracting and rude. If every person with anxiety or depression was walking around with Lassie on their hip, every second of the day our lecture halls would be filled with dogs. Do not compromise the learning of others because you ‘need’ an animal to emotionally support you.
Not only is it distracting to 75 or more students, but it’s insulting to those with actual disabilities who need service animals. A blind or deaf person assigned a service dog deserves that right and should not have to bare insult from it. Yes, have your emotional support dog… at your house and in your personal life away from the classroom. Personal comfort shouldn’t come at the cost of diminishing the abilities of others.
You do not need an emotional support animal. It is a comfort, a luxury that many can never have. Don’t play into the oh-so redundant ballad of the ‘snowflake’ generation. The reason why millennials are looked at as weak is because we look to comfort as a buffer for everything. An emotional support animal is a Band-Aid, not a solution. Go ahead and get a dog if you need it emotionally, that is your right. It is not your right to disobey university policy and infringe upon the learning of all your classmates. That is weakness.
If CSU were to allow emotional support animals in classrooms it would be a zoo. So many people have disabilities and are able to control and work with them without disrupting others. Dogs basically make everyone happy, and of course most would benefit from having a dog around them 24/7. Having an emotional support animal in the classroom infringes on other students abilities to learn, insults the purpose of service animals and makes you a weakling.