Fragility In Our Time
If you walked into the Grace Hopper College courtyard last year, you may have seen a cat on a leash. Last fall you might have seen a dog; this semester, there are two of them scurrying around Hopper.
These are emotional support animals. While Yale College does not allow students to live with pets on campus, University Policy 4400 allows students to live with emotional support animals, also called assistance animals, “on a case-by-case basis in a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability.”
Last year, there was one registered support animal on Yale’s campus, a kitten named Sawa. There are now 14 — a number that Sarah Chang, associate director of the Resource Office on Disabilities, expects to rise.
“If what has played out at other schools is true, then yes, [there will be] a lot more,” Chang said. “I do think we’re going to see a large increase in numbers, definitely.”
Emotional support animals require no training. They don’t even have to be dogs. Their purpose is to provide a therapeutic benefit through companionship. At Yale, there are emotional support dogs, emotional support cats and even an emotional support hedgehog. All members of the class of 2021 were asked on the first-year housing survey whether they would be agreeable to sharing a suite with a student who has an emotional support animal or service animal.
Still, despite the increase in the number of such animals, there is little scientific evidence to support their impact on humans, according to Molly Crossman GRD ’19, a Yale doctoral student in psychology who has studied the mental health benefits of people’s interactions with animals.
What in the actual freak is going on here? These students at one of the world’s most prestigious colleges consider themselves to be so fragile that they cannot go to class or exist without their kittens?
And the university allows this?!
I know some of you think I focus too much on little things like this. Hey, North and South Korea may be making peace, and you’re blogging about kitties on campus? You have something of a point. But hear me out: this kind of thing is tiny but meaningful. These are signs of ongoing breakdown — psychological and institutional — in our civilization. Yeah, it’s silly — both the concept of “emotional support animals,” and the idea that our leading universities would coddle adult children who can’t get through the day without their mewling wubbies — but it also says something important about the character of our culture.
Yale allows the Christakises, actual grown-ups who took education and maturity seriously, to be driven away from campus by a shrieking mob of woke children, and now allows those children to bring dogs to class so they don’t have a nervous breakdown. Unbelievable.
Hey, if I were at Yale, I’d love having the chance to scratch somebody else’s dog’s belly during the day. It would make me happy. Still, there’s something sick-making about the idea that adults are so emotionally fragile that they can’t endure life without a pet near to hand. If you really are so psychologically weak, then why are you in college and not in Combray nibbling madeleines and sipping tisane? This self-infantilization is revolting.
The Chinese are so going to kick our butts this century…
UPDATE: Totally forgot that Lord Sebastian Flyte had an Emotional Support Animal at Oxford — dear Aloysius: