The Tator

Housing shortage worsens; first-year students are to live at local animal shelter

Madeline Fuerstenberg

More stories from Madeline Fuerstenberg

November 2, 2020

This is a satirical article and is not meant to be taken seriously. It does not reflect the opinions of The Spectator or UW-Eau Claire.

Following last week’s devastating fire at Murray Hall at UW-Eau Claire, current student residents will now be relocated to the Eau Claire County Humane Association (ECCHA), Chippewa Valley’s animal shelter, where they will live for the remainder of the school year.

“We don’t really have much of a choice,” said Chancellor James C. Schmidt. “The important thing is that everyone got out of Murray safely. And they’ll be getting lots of treats for the rest of the year.”

The exact cause of last week’s fire has not yet been determined, but investigators found contraband candles and toasters in multiple rooms throughout the building. The fire left serious damage to Murray’s interior; the university will have to make thousands of dollars worth of repairs.

“The cost will set UW-Eau Claire back quite a bit,” Schmidt said. “But our real issue here is the lack of available space for all those students.”

Eau Claire searched frantically for some available last-minute housing.

Recent renovations to Karlgaard Towers Hall South have already caused overflow in campus housing. The Clarion Hotel, where current overflow students are staying, does not have enough available rooms for the Murray residents. After pleading with all of the hotels in Eau Claire to no avail, the university was finally able to find a home for the displaced students.

“We’re really excited to help out,” said Eugene Hoggett, director of ECCHA. “Students will have to double up on kennels, but we have plenty of spare dog beds and toys.”

The ECCHA has always been committed to giving animals a second chance, Hogget said.

With the association’s help, hundreds of homeless college students will receive the care and attention they deserve. Each kennel at the shelter will be occupied by two students and a furry friend. All residents will have plenty of access to outdoor activities, and their food will be delivered to them by hand, through a metal slot.

“It’ll sort of be like living in a mediocre hotel,” said Marie Dolittle, a first-year social work student at Eau Claire. “But it will be nice to have a bigger room.”

Dolittle also said she is mildly allergic to dogs, but she’s even more allergic to being homeless.

Chase Ventura, a first-year biology student from Murray Hall, said he could not be more excited about moving into ECCHA.

“I miss my dog so much,” he said, “and now I get to live with dozens of them — it’s a college student’s dream come true!”

Ventura said his biggest concern about living in the shelter would be the smell that will surely following him everywhere he goes. Luckily for him, ECCHA offers free washing and grooming services for all of its residents.

Hoggett said he requests that all incoming stray students get their shots before move-in day. Eau Claire will not be providing these services, nor will it be releasing Murray residents from their housing contracts, though the university has voiced its own concerns about a potential flea outbreak.

Chancellor Schmidt had one final thought on the situation:

“Their lives will definitely be more unsanitary and stressful — and they’ll definitely have to fight over the small food portions and the urine-free dog beds — but at least they’re safe.”