Campus / News / September 28, 2011

Fishy UB event stirs controversy

Knox students got in line Wednesday at Roger Taylor Lounge in Seymour Union to take part in a controversial event, Fish ‘n Chips, where students could adopt a free goldfish for their dorm rooms and enjoy snacks provided by the Union Board.

This idea is attributed to Britt Anderson ‘11, who as a senior last year helped plan the events for the upcoming fall term. She thought that goldfish proved to be a budget-friendly way to provide students with low-maintenance fishy friends.

Everyone from freshmen to seniors flocked to the lounge, following a chalk-drawn fish path on the sidewalk leading up to the building. Union Board members were busily preparing for the crowd and helping fellow students decorate their tanks and welcome their piscine companions.

Despite the fun, excited atmosphere during the event, there were some comments on Union Board’s Facebook event page relaying concerns for the fish and how well they would be taken care of.

While some students on the page commented on possible pros/cons of distributing goldfish, others were fully unsupportive.

“For all of those people against this event I will be showing up in Seymour loading dock with a semi-truck full of water that everyone should put their fish in. I will drive it to the Spoon River and save the lives of all the little fishies that would otherwise suffer to death,” Eric Ballard ‘11 said on the Facebook event page.

It seemed that the biggest concern for the fish was how often the tanks would be cleaned and the size of the bowls in which the goldfish would be kept.

“A goldfish bowl is technically animal cruelty—legally so, in some European cities like Rome, for example,” junior Autumn McGarr commented. “Goldfish may survive for many years in bowls, yes, but they will not thrive.”

Everyone who came to the event, however, was eager to try to keep their new scaly pets happy and healthy, some students even planning to attain larger bowls and more advanced cleaning tools.

“Students wouldn’t come to get the fish if they couldn’t take care of them,” sophomore Ema Bassey said.

Union Board member junior Tanvi Madhusudanan made it clear that the event was not intended in bad taste and that Union Board was trying to be understanding and open to everyone’s opinions.

“It’s hard to find events that appeal to everyone and it’s not meant to offend anyone,” Madhusudanan said in response to the negative comments regarding this event.

Kayla Anderson

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