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  • Katelin Gandee

Wallaby banned, decision retracted

The infamous CCU wallaby That Chanticleer did a story on at the beginning of campus is now allowed back on campus after being banned a few weeks ago.

The wallaby, Boomer, belongs to Nick Muti and the pair has been gaining a lot of attention on Instagram.

With over 730 followers on the social media site, Boomer has become a new "mascot" to the students of CCU with appearances at places like The Coop Bar and Grill and around campus.

Boomer and Muti, however, gained more attention than anticipated. CCU's Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS) informed him that Boomer was no longer allowed in classrooms or on campus at all since the wallaby wasn’t a service animal.

While service animals can only be dogs, or in very limited cases a miniature horse, Boomer is a campaign animal which falls into a different category.

Muti understood why Boomer wasn’t allowed in classes, but found an issue with why he couldn't bring his pet on campus at all.

Muti took to Boomer’s Instagram to protest while researching the University's rules of having animals on public campuses.

“If people from Coastal Club could walk their dogs on Prince, why wasn’t I allowed to have Boomer,” Muti said. “I understand he’s not allowed in classrooms but why not on Prince Lawn?”

While waiting to meet with the University about the policy he researched, Muti created t-shirts that read "Free the Wallaby" on it.

CCU follows the national ADS rules, which allow for service animals to be a dog, or miniature horse in certain cases. It also says companion animals didn’t have to be a specific animal.

On Coastal's website, the only rules for companion animals is for those who are living in University Housing. These rules state that the animal is allowed in the residence hall and around, but nothing about the animal not being allowed on Prince Lawn.

While there are rules about service animals on the website, there is no restrictions listed on those who are not.

When Muti spoke with the University again, they agreed that Boomer could be in public place, like Prince Lawn, but could not be inside the buildings.

Muti had already committed to selling t-shirts to support Boomer, but after the decision was made in his favor, he decided to do something different with the money.

“I had already ordered the shirts when I was told he was allowed on campus," said Muti. "I thought I’d just go ahead just to raise awareness about everything, and the money could go to a good cause.”

Muti chose to donate the proceeds to St. Jude Children's Hospital when he first got Boomer, they would take trips to a hospital in New York to train.

The Chanticleer reached out to Accessibility and Disability Services at CCU in order to get more information about Muit's case.

However, they would only respond by saying they follow the ADS and that their only area was service animals and companion animals in University Housing.

We're working to learn more.

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