Reports have emerged that a Warwick University student was discovered to be keeping a pet snake hidden in their university accommodation room, despite clear warnings that keeping animals on campus is against university policy.
The discovery was made by The Coventry Telegraph using the powers granted under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which allows a ‘right of access’ to information held by public authorities, such as universities.
The information revealed that over the past five years the accommodation team at Warwick have discovered students harbouring a collection of animals in their rooms, including a snake, hamster and even a kitten.
Such actions are a direct violation of Warwick accommodation policy, which states that animals are not to be kept in university accommodation, or even allowed in the Warwick Student Union building. Guide Dogs are the only permitted exemption to this rule, and as such are allowed in Warwick accommodation blocks, both on and off campus.
University policy at Warwick permits staff members to visit and check a student’s room at any time during their stay in on-campus accommodation. Specific rules do regulate such visits however, and staff members are always required to knock on a student’s door first and await a response, before using their master key to enter the room.
None of the students harbouring the pets were reportedly forced to leave their accommodation, but they were made to find alternative homes for the hidden animals.
Every university across the UK is reported to enforce a similar ban on animals being kept in accommodation halls, in order to protect students who might suffer from allergies and to prevent accidents or injuries occurring. Many universities also expressed their concerns about the lack of space pets would receive in a typical student room, which was never designed to accommodate for the needs of an animal.
The ban on pets only applies to university run accommodation however, and private landlords in Coventry and Leamington are free to choose for themselves whether to allow animals to stay in their homes.
When questioned by The Coventry Telegraph, a spokesman for the University of Warwick stated: “Working animals such as guide dogs are allowed in University accommodation. However, other pets are not allowed, due to hygiene and animal welfare concerns…If a pet is found living in university student accommodation the student will be asked to find alternative accommodation for that pet”.