The ongoing investigation into the death of a cat on the Fraternity Quad on Dec. 2 has resulted in a variety of reactions from both the campus and the greater community.
On Dec. 2, a cat was found mutilated on the Fraternity Quad, and an investigation by UR Security, the Humane Society, and the Rochester Police Department has been underway since the incident.
According to a letter published in this issue of the Campus Times, Mauldin is having some difficulties in the investigation. “Investigators are experiencing some instances in which a witness, when reinterviewed, no longer remembers the names they provided in earlier conversations,” Mauldin said.
“A few have no recollection, now, of even being in the area at the times in question.
“It would be understood that investigator reports will be compared and contrasted in the case findings for submission to the University,” Mauldin continued. “Initial interviews will be included along with later statements, so as to discern more precisely the facts, the context of evidence gathered, and the degree to which cooperation has been demonstrated in good faith.”
On Monday, Feb. 11, fliers were posted in various areas over campus defaming Delta Kappa Epsilon, and blaming them for the cat incident.
“Like killing animals?” the flyer said. “Rush DKE!”
The flyer also said, “We’re looking for a few good men to embrace our principals of hazing, cruelty to animals, and lying to cover your ass.”
The flyer also went on to compare DKE to Theta Delta, a fraternity that was kicked off campus in 1988 for the gang rape of a girl.
Chairman of the Fraternity President’s Council Matt Davison felt that this incident was disturbing. “It’s really sad that someone would resort to this type of slander,” Davison said. “In the future, I would hope that individuals would take a step back and realize what they’re doing.”
Dean of The College William Green also found the flyer incident disheartening. “I don’t think that’s any way to do business,” Green said. “It doesn’t elevate the community discussion for any group under any circumstances.”
On Wednesday, Feb. 13, a memorial service was held for the cat found mutilated on Dec. 2.
The event was presented by the Animals Rights Advocates of Upstate New York. President of ARAUNY Lois Baum said, “The whole community was just enraged, and we wanted to offer some healing with this memorial service.”
The night began with Baum reading a quote from Gandhi, “The greatness of a nation … can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
In the beginning of the ceremony, a moment of silence was held for the cat.
Vice President and General Secretary Dean Paul Burgett was the next to speak, saying that both the university and the Humane Society share similar values regarding the humane treatment of animals.
Speaking on the cat incident, he said, “This represents a violation of this value.”
“The university cooperates and is cooperating fully with the Humane Society and the Rochester Police Department to resolve this matter quickly and as equitably as we can,” Burgett continued.
Baum then read a poem that she had recently written, entitled “Lil’ Innocent Eyes.”
An excerpt from “The Souls of Animals” by Gary Kowalski was read afterwards. “Animals are not things; they are not objects. Neither are they human. They are, like us, living souls,” a passage reads.
Secretary of the organization Kathy Caldwell spoke briefly after the passage, and returned to the theme of Pet Theft Awareness Day, reminding the audience that two million pets are stolen every year. Later, she thanked the university for taking the cat incident so seriously.
Baum said he feels that this vigil is very important for the community and also for animals in general. “Our focus is on this cat,” she said. “It is for this cat, and animals like her.”
Approximately twenty people attended, including university representative Burgett and Vice President of Public Relations Robert Kraus.
“It’s freezing out and it’s Ash Wednesday, so we’re happy with this turnout,” Baum said.
“The group asked if the university would be present because we share similar values about humane treatment for all living creatures,” Burgett said.
Kraus said of his reason for coming, “I came here because I wanted to hear their concerns.”
Several students were also in attendance at the event. “I came because I just wanted to see what was going on,” freshman Apryl Steverson said.
Graduate student Nathan Nobis said, “I saw the signs, and coming seemed like appropriate thing to do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything better.”
Several members from the community participated in the event. “I find this whole thing sickening and appalling,” Marcia Walsh said. “This has really put a black mark on the campus.”
“It just bothers me to think that the people that did this are here on this campus,” she continued.
Her husband, Dan Walsh also attended the vigil. “People that know something have a responsibility to say something,” he said. “They have blood on their hands, too.”
Schnee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.