With spring finally here, you may have noticed the remarkable increase of Geese on Vassar’s campus. The appearance of this fowl has been met with comments such as, “They should fly south again!” or “Why are they wandering around our campus? They belong in Sunset Lake!” or “Why is there a Goose passed out in my bedroom with a red Solo cup in its beak?” The sudden arrival of the geese is due to the Goose Inclusion Act recently approved by Vassar College President Catherine Hill, who hopes to create a more inclusive community for everyone—including the Geese.
Response to this bold policy move has been varied. Supporters of the act say, “Geese have a right to an education, to enjoy our beautiful campus and to partake in a meal plan, too! We have long discriminated against these animals just because of their species and the fact that their primary dwelling is stereotypically lakes. It is time for this to stop. Time for a change.”
Vassar has long had a history of being an inclusive and progressive community, accepting to all. Advocates ask, “Why stop at homo sapiens?” The Vassar Animal Rights Coalition is a huge supporter of this act. When asked to comment, they state that “It is an ethical abomination that these birds do not enjoy the same rights as humans do. The fact that the institution took so long to propose this act is an disgrace on par with human trafficking. Okay, maybe not that bad. It’s hard to create appropriate metaphors when you are worked up over Geese habitation.”
The act simply hopes to throw outside conventions of animals remaining outside, while humans come inside, outside of the door that the Geese will come inside. It’s that easy. Amenities for the Geese should not be hard to come by. Bathtubs in dorms are rarely used and will make comfortable waterbeds for the birds. When it comes to meal plans, the Geese are excited about the options available both at the stir-fry station and the salad bar. Meatless Mondays are another point of interest for the herbivore animals, as they are advocates for a meat-free—specifically chicken, quail, goose and turkey-free—lifestyle.
The Geese themselves have a lot to say about the matter. Head of NGAS (National Goose Advancement Society), Mother Goose, comments, “Quack quack quack. QUACK!” Translation: Just because we don’t have opposable thumbs doesn’t mean we don’t deserve an education! The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg adds, “Quack-a-dee quack q**** quack.” Needing no translation.
For a long time, Geese have felt a societal pressure to fly south for the winter and live exclusively in lakes and bodies of water on campus when they are residing in the North. The Act aims to remedy these problems. Proponents of the act hope to see geese start to make themselves feel at home in places such as Joss Beach, the ACDC, in various TAs and THs, and all dorms and gender (and species) neutral bathrooms.
President Hill states that the long-term goal of the act is to have an equal number of Geese and non-Geese on campus. She also says, “We expect to hire a few Goose professors and fill some administrative positions.” Additionally, the Act hopes to one day encompass the rights of all fowl, including the ducks that currently reside in the stream along the TH path. In fact, some Geese have started campaigning for the admittance of their feathered relative by creating “the ugly duckling scholarship fund,” so that less-privileged fowl can receive the education and luxuries Geese enjoy. Rumor has it the new science building will double as a “all-fowl” dorm, although some Geese have expressed concern about existing in such close proximity to Bio labs.
Unfortunately, discrimination against Geese is still rampant on Vassar Campus. Freshman Paarul Sinha says, “The Geese have taken over, they’re pooping everywhere!” This is just one example of the blatant disregard for the Geese’s feelings and rights. Senior Lisle Schaffer claims, “Geese belong in Canada.”
Schaffer’s claim opens up issues of deportation and effectively compares Geese to Justin Bieber, which is simply not fair to the Geese.
Vassar has long been on the progressive forefront of colleges and institutions in America when it comes to tackling social issues such as this head on. It appears that Geese still have a long road ahead of them, but one day, maybe we will see Vassar College students and all fowl coexisting, holding hands to feather.