University would be Loko to let chimps go

By DANNY SCHMIDT, editor-in-chief

Central Washington University is nationally known for two reasons:

The first is our Four Loko incident, leading to the brief, Brett Favre-like retirement of the drink. The second is the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute.

Students in the program are able to do what no other students in America can: They get to research the chimps, up close and personal. If the chimps are gone, the program will continue, but the observations will come from recordings. That’s not a chimposium, that’s chimpose-re-runs.

People from all over the world come to Ellensburg to learn about our program and to see the two chimps, Tatu and Loulis, signing to one another. Chimps are the only non-humans to communicate with humans in that way, and Central is one of only two universities in the world to be able to provide that experience.

Money is the reason for the possible chimp departure. With university money going all over the place, like toward all the science buildings, you would think Central would want to have something academic that makes them unique.

Nobody in Istanbul is saving up money to come see the stick bugs in the Science Building. Now if one learned sign language, it would attract some visitors.

CHCI has a waiting list like no other program on campus. Why punish all those students by taking away the best part of their studies?

Instead of sending the chimps out of Ellensburg, the school should do some weeding outside the institute, clean up the shrubbery and keep getting visitors.

One of the possible destinations for the chimps is Cle Elum, which isn’t too far, but it would still take away some of Central’s prestige.

Plus, if the chimps leave, we won’t hear those beautiful noises when we’re walking on Nicholson or trying to sleep in our apartment.

When people visit the institute, it not only puts Central on the map, it also helps Ellensburg’s economy. Those people are buying hotel rooms, eating at local restaurants and maybe even buying some cute clothes downtown.

Because of the financial impact, and the fact that Central has something so rare, the City of Ellensburg is writing a letter to President Gaudino supporting the chimps staying.

Maintaining a world-class facility costs money, but so does everything else. The university decided keeping President  Gaudino another five years is worth giving him a $500,000 bonus.

Getting rid of the chimps could very well lose money for the university. By sending Tatu and Loulis elsewhere, we will lose current students, and more importantly, prospective students who want to join the program.

We need to keep Central’s uniqueness intact by keep the two chimps, and adding three more. We can’t be the university only known for getting Four Loko banned. And besides, what’s the deal with those stick bugs, anyway?