Students designated as emotional support animals to live on campus

Feb. 21, 2021, 9:29 p.m.

Just as a recent Massachusetts initiative to vaccinate caretakers spurred a black market for geriatric companionship, the University’s decision to constrain undergraduate housing to those with special circumstances has led many students to find creative ways of circumventing the rules.

Notably, a recent Daily investigation of Palo Alto Craigslist ads revealed a flourishing marketplace of those living on campus offering to designate their non-special circumstance peers as emotional support animals in exchange for exorbitant sums of money.

One such ad, posted by user 106b_is_my_b, promised “an unparalleled on-campus living experience as an officially-designated support animal.” The post explained that “being classified as an emotional support animal is the fastest workaround to living on campus,” and that there were different price tiers for different animal classifications on offer.

Being designated an emotional support hamster, for instance, can be had for $999.99, whereas being a dog costs at least twice that (depending on the breed). The cheapest option, being a fish, is listed at $200 with the caveat that you would need to sleep in a tank of water. Phish food ice cream could be provided upon request, however.

The Office of Emotional Support Animals (OESA), housed in a converted broom closet in the biology building where they keep the rats, issued a statement saying that, while they have received a suspicious uptick in the number of applications, it is unclear to what degree this surge is due to the stressful nature of the pandemic itself.

Brodie Broomstock, the sole OESA employee, confirmed that he conducts surprise inspections to ensure there’s no funny business going on with people’s support animals. Last week, the Daily accompanied him on one such inspection in EVGR.

After letting himself into the dorm room using the master key he “just found lying around,” it was revealed that several freshmen with hastily painted noses and dog-ear headbands were concealed inside. Broomstock, however, didn’t seem to think that anything was awry. “Looks good,” he said, exiting the room while thumbing through the wad of cash one of the dogs had given him.

When we visited President Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s house to ask for comment, he dismissively claimed that we must have been mistaken while trying to use his body to block us from peering past the dead bolted door and into the living room where we could see several students submerged in a large plexiglass tank.

Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine, and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only. 

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A chronic anachronism, Ben enjoys well-punctuated texts and oatmeal cookies. He's also majoring in psychology, so he knows how many fingers you're thinking of holding up. Spam him at bmidler 'at'

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