Surely MU's Missouri Student Association President senior Tim Noce is jesting. He wants MU's administrative staff, alumni and supporters to consider purchasing a live tiger for home football games. His reasoning is, if Louisana State University and the University of Memphis can have tigers, why can’t we?
It’s only a question of money, he says. OK, no problem. Our athletic department somehow can always find plenty of money for football. Even if money to purchase a tiger would come from 'private' sources, Mr. Noce's question still has a double ethical edge.
We all know, I'm sure, folks who are struggling financially , out of work, struggling to pay tuition or repay college loans, etc. We know also that University of Missouri system President Gary Forsee is concerned about MU's overall 2010 budget.
Of course, MU shouldn't spend private or public money on a tiger and its perpetual upkeep just because some people might really, really, really want one because other schools have them.
Secondly, tigers are not native to Missouri. What exactly might a tiger feel living here in Columbia, in confinement or on a leash for hours on a football field with gyrating, screaming, drinking fans while the band blares on? Also, live mascot tigers are sedated, declawed and perhaps have a few teeth removed. And very likely they are castrated.
I ask you, would that be a fitting symbol for MU?
Sharon Kinney Hanson graduated from MU with a master's degree in education in 1977.