Texas Tech University committed to collaborating with local animal service organizations on reducing the number of cats in the university's longstanding feral cat colony. Here's what collaboration looks like.
Plan - Involve feral cat caretakers, TTU students and staff, in ascertaining the feral cat population on campus. Determine solutions to identified concerns in conjunction with caretakers. Test those strategies to see their impact. Identify who is responsible for various parts of the plan. Meet regularly to share feedback on actions taken and course correct. Have agreed upon measures for success and methods for communicating when surprises arise. Be forthright, open and honest in dealings with one another and the public.
Tech did none of the above with the university's feral cat caretakers. Facilities Chief Hugh Cronin and Marketing's Chris Cook started Tech's Feral Cat War in the heat of summer, which has been ably continued by new Facilities Chief Chief Kent Meredith.
TTU accelerated cat trapping and removal during the Winter break. The university had the audacity to steal bowls provided by cat caretakers and use those inside their traps. This move came after Tech staff removed shelters donated by cat caretakers.
Tech repeatedly shut out the very groups it promised to work with, thus it's clear the university's intent was never to collaborate. At every turn Tech acted unilaterally with arrogance and hubris.
Top administrators ignored expressed objections, breaking their silence only with worthless replies to EthicsPoint complaints. I queried EthicsPoint on Tech's non-investigation and hapless response, which reiterated on September 14, 2013:
Hugh Cronin is no longer with the university. After his departure, administration continued to seek opportunities to partner with the campus and the student organization in an effort to strengthen the viability of the program intended to relocate the feral cats away from residence halls, dining halls, and child development center.
Over three months later Tech's collaboration mantra remains unfulfilled. EthicsPoint advised me to submit the concerns yet again. I may do so next year.
Might TTU actually fulfill it's longstanding promise to collaborate with feral cat caretakers in 2014? Might it look like the Plan picture painted above? The ball is in (and has always been) in Tech's court.