I am writing to you because I am concerned by the failure of the administration to respond to the severe overpopulation of deer on the Binghamton University campus. There have been many peer-reviewed studies that conclusively indicate that at deer population levels lower than those that we have on campus, there will very likely be a large increase of deer ticks. In this area, 30 percent of deer ticks are known to be carriers of Lyme disease.
Here at BU we enjoy a very high degree of integration with the surrounding natural environment. The natural areas on campus serve as an incredible resource for both recreation and experiential education opportunities. Unfortunately, in light of the recent influx of deer and deer ticks, natural areas have become hazardous to student health and safety as well as potential sources of serious liability. The spread of Lyme disease, car accidents and damage to the property in surrounding areas all result from an overabundance of deer.
Aside from students and faculty being put in danger, the most concerning aspect of this situation is the University’s failure to act to address this situation. Even worse, there has been a marked lack of information made accessible to students, faculty and staff. Relevant information could include the official stance of the administration on the issue, how it plans to address the issue and, perhaps most importantly, the appropriate safety measures that individuals should take to protect themselves in between now and when the administration is able to effectively address the issue.
There are many potential solutions to a problem like this one: relocation, sterilization, hunting, culling. But in this case, given the degree of the overpopulation, the constant presence of students in the direct vicinity and the widespread starvation and dramatically low quality of life that the deer experience, the only feasible solution is to substantially cull the deer. This would entail hiring a private company, such as the one led by a former marine sniper with a Ph.D. in wildlife biology, to painlessly and mercifully end the lives of 90 percent of the deer. The usable portions of the deceased deer would be donated to local charities.
The University has a duty to protect the health and wellness of its populations. Given the nature of this University’s campus, the risk of contracting Lyme disease is high. As a result of the University’s failure to address this problem sooner, the opportunity to take less extreme measures to address this problem has long passed. I sincerely hope that you and the administration will be able to come to a consensus that does not compromise campus culture or a considerable draw for prospective students while maintaining a reasonable level of safety on campus. It is with shame and despondency that I inform you that even if the University takes immediate action and abates the future effects of this issue, there may already be enough damage for legal charges to be successfully brought against it. To avoid another situation like this one in the future, please consider the overwhelming scientific consensus presented to you.
Sincerely, respectfully and regretfully,
– Ryan Ginsburg is a senior majoring in environmental public policy and law