In the popular Dr. Seuss children’s book, “The Lorax,” often seen as a parallel to criticisms of the logging industry, a young boy is told the story of an environment being destroyed. The Lorax is a lone voice against the mass deforestation that threatens his home; he “speaks for the trees.”
Nobody is speaking for Jacksonville University’s tree’s. On the north side of campus, trees are continuing to be cut down near the village apartments.
“I think it’s bad that they are ruining JU’s natural environment for no reason,” said senior Matthew Ernsting.
The reason for the removal of the trees remains unclear, despite repeated attempts to contact JU’s administration.
“I feel it’s okay if they are being cut down for a good reason,” said senior Kelly Martens. “For example, if they were about to fall down on a student walking to class, then it’s good. But if it is not for a good reason, then it is not okay.”
This is a popular stance among the residents of the village apartments. Many are confused and do not like the removal of the trees but would accept it if it were happening for a “good reason.”
“I’d just like to know why they are doing it,” said junior Alex Bulgin.
Faculty on the third floor of the Davis Student commons, including Josh Earley, the director of student activities, and Dr. John Balog, the vice president for student life, had no idea why the trees were being cut down. Both Earley and Balog suggested that physical plant might have the answers.
JU’s Physical Plant, the necessary infrastructure used to support and maintain campus facilities, is located on-campus beside the Tillie K. Fowler NROTC building on the north side of campus.
Physical plant, when contacted, denied that any live trees were being cut down . They admitted to trimming trees and the possibility of removing dead trees. Joseph Coleman, speaking on behalf of Physical plant, said that trees would be cut down if they had a virus or were in danger of injuring students.
A phone call to Financial Affairs, which directs Physical Plant, went unreturned, and a second phone call went unanswered.
The students are left with few answers and less greenery on campus. Some students are unconcerned with the change.
“I don’t care,” said sophomore Tyler Hannon. “I’m not a treehugger.”
Some students are even pleased by removal of the trees.
“I’m all for it,” said junior Jay Angel. “Destruction is beauty.”
But most students miss the green giants that graced their homes.
“I want my trees back!” said junior Emma Allen.