Letters to the Editor: Campus community speaks on kit foxes

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In The Rip articles by Joe Bergman concerning the controversy surrounding the removal of the endangered and federally protected kit foxes at Memorial Stadium – removal that has warranted an investigation by California Fish and Wildlife — the alleged purpose for removing the foxes seems to focus on the “beautification” of the stadium.

Confucius famously said: “Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.” For many decades, the kit foxes have lived in the Memorial Stadium area, bringing delight, first-hand knowledge and observation of our endangered animal neighbors, and yes, beauty, to the BC campus.

College campuses around the country celebrate the native animals that count the campus their home, and embrace them as unofficial mascots. Black squirrels abound at Kent State, moose wander the Dartmouth campus, a 15-year-old tabby cat oversees classes at a high school in Maine, and I am told, there is a very special rooster who visits classrooms on the CSUB campus; both the student body and community welcome the presence of these natural neighbors. They are featured and celebrated on official websites and bring a sense of relationship and connection between people and the animal’s native to the area.

What a discredit to our students and campus community that those in charge of the “beautification” of Memorial Stadium did not choose to see the beauty of the foxes; the decades of delight they have brought to stadium visitors, Renegade fans, the community, and generations of students, as well as the important role they play in the diverse and unique ecosystem of the San Joaquin Valley. Instead of considering them pests, why not embrace their presence, celebrate their unique status to only our area, and adopt them as the unofficial BC mascot?

Now, that is a beautiful story for everyone to see.

Dr. Rae Ann Kumelos 

Professor of English 

Bakersfield College


I am writing in response to the kit fox articles published in your April 6 and April 20 editions.

According to your April 6 article by Joe Bergman, Dr. Anthony Culpepper acknowledged that Bakersfield College did not apply, or receive, any permits and also stated that he was not aware of any permits that were necessary. After a simple search on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services website, I was able to not only find out when and what permits are available and necessary but also how to apply for them. Had the directors taken any time to do their due diligence, they would have just as easily found the same information that I did. They also had the ability to contact the Environmental Species Recovery offices for guidance or support, which they didn’t.

The Endangered Species Act also specifically states that it is forbidden to disturb kit fox habitats between January and June, as it is their breeding season. According to sources, the cementing of the dens occurred during this period. This is clear evidence of the negligence and disobedience of the Endangered Species Act.

Furthermore, if nothing else, these kit foxes have made their home in Memorial Stadium for over 15 years. They are the unofficial, beloved mascots of our education community. The beautification of our facilities could have been accomplished in a cohesive manner to providing sanctuary to these helpless creatures.

I sincerely hope the Renegade Rip continues to investigate this matter and keep its readers informed. I also strongly urge my fellow readers to get involved in this matter and make BC aware that we do not condone these actions and call for a change in the handling of the kit foxes. We need to address the damage already done to these animals, find a way to reintegrate a hospitable habitat for them into the stadium, and have a policy to ensure their survival for the future.

Michaela Acton 

BC nursing major


I am writing this email to provide more information about kit foxes and my own thoughts about how kit foxes make a difference on campus.

In San Joaquin, kit foxes were once a thriving species in the1930s, making their home in native grasslands of the Central Valley. In 1967, the federal government listed them as endangered. Then, in 1971, California also listed them as a threatened species.

Some people do not know or understand that the kit foxes play a very important role in the ecosystem. These mammals had to adapt to the changing of the land coursed by urban development. They are very shy and fearful animals; simply looking at them can make them run away.

I’ll offer my thoughts on helping people understand the beauty of the kit fox. The Carrizo Plain National Monument is one of the best-kept secrets in California, located by the San Andreas Fault line. The Plain offers a rare chance to be alone with nature, and there is total silence.

The Plain has diverse communities of wildlife and plant species, including several listed as threatened or endangered, and areas culturally important to Native Americans. This does sound like a Utopia world — “an imagined place or state of things where everything is perfect” — but it is very real and breathtaking.

I would love to help everyone see there is beauty on the Plain, and we can have beauty on the Bakersfield College campus as well without causing problems to kit foxes where they have done nothing wrong to our students or community.

Jeri Solis 

BC studio art major