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PETA: CMU 'did the right thing' by limiting circus


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A tiger paces in its cage Nov. 5 outside Finch Fieldhouse.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a statement thanking Central Michigan University for ending its engagement with Jordan World Circus on Tuesday, Nov. 19. 

"Central Michigan University did the right thing by stopping Jordan World Circus from dragging abused wild animals onto its campus," said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Every venue that joins the school's move to stop cruelty helps PETA push circuses toward an animal-free future."

After a group of CMU students protested outside Jordan World Circus performances at Finch Fieldhouse on Nov. 5, University Communications Assistant Director Ari Harris stated that the Jordan World Circus would not be invited back to campus.

"CMU will honor its contract with Jordan World Circus, but university administration will not extend the engagement with the company beyond this current show," Harris said. "We respect and understand the concern expressed by some in our community."

Central Michigan Life tried to contact University Communications once more for more information about the current contract and to confirm that the Jordan World Circus would not be brought back to campus. University Communications reiterated the information given on Nov. 5. 

"This was a business decision related to the use of our facilities," said Interim Associate Vice President of University Communications Heather Smith. "PETA did not play a role in this decision."

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, CM Life obtained the contract between the university and Jordan World Circus, which was only for Nov. 5. According to the contract, CMU did not have any contractual obligations to Jordan World Circus after Nov. 5.

At their Nov. 18 meeting, CMU’s Student Government Association passed a resolution against partnerships with organizations that don’t share CMU’s stated social values, including Jordan World Circus.

In the resolution, SGA quotes the university's core values of "integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness, social responsibility, excellence and innovation."

The resolution pointed out Jordan World Circus as an unethical and contradictory partnership; this spring, CMU is offering an alternative break concentrated on ending animal exploitation.

The resolution passed by SGA directly correlates with the mission of some of the protestors.

“I don’t want to accuse or come at people, but I want to get it out that there are some students who invest in this school,” said Grosse Pointe junior and protestor Josie Riley. “This doesn’t really represent what I believe is right.”

The group of protestors said the animals rented by Jordan World Circus are from companies that have past animal cruelty allegations against them. 

During the protest, Westland senior Mackenna Wietecha gathered signatures for a PETA petition, which was targeting CMU, DeltaPlex Arena and Conference Center and Kellogg Arena for hosting the Jordan World Circus.

According to PETA, CMU is now a part of the dozens of communities and over 650 venues which prohibit or restrict performances including animals.

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