A University of Florida student is receiving plenty of attention for an unexpected partner-in-crime.
Due to a recent change in classroom accommodations, sophomore Jeremy Webb has been granted permission to bring his service Manatee to class. Jeremy stated that he first met the manatee, Manny, while with some friends in Crystal River, Florida.
“I had been feeling a little anxious in my classes, being in a lecture hall with over 100 people is intimidating,” Webb said. “But being around a 10ft long aquatic mammal is surprisingly reassuring.”
After discussions between the Webbs and the University, Manny was approved as a service animal for the Fall of 2018. While this was a victory for Jeremy, professors have been quite critical of this policy change by the University.
“Jeremy is in my class, and his service animal has been a significant distraction to everyone since syllabus day,” said one professor, who wished to remain anonymous.
“I was only able to get 1/3 of the way through the syllabus before I realized no one was paying attention to the slideshow, instead marveling at the 50 gallon tank situated near the back of the classroom.”
The professor also noted that Webb had failed to turn in his syllabus quiz, making him both a failing student and a distraction in the class.
For Jeremy, on the other hand, the positives of having Manny outweigh the negatives.
“I understand the arguments made about my service animal, but he has helped me so much in school. Last spring I had a 1.3 GPA, and this semester I’m sitting on a 2.2 GPA. At this rate, I could get to a 3.0 by 2021!.”
With the notoriety of Manny increasing because of the moving truck that transports him to class, he may not be the only 10 ft. 1,300 lb. behemoth on campus for much longer.