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Rodents in the residence halls are a dirty problem for students on campus

For the past couple of years The Weekly has reported about some kind of pest in the dorms. It was bees in 2003 and feral cats, fleas and skunks in 2004. This school year has brought rodents, and lots of them.

It is not okay to be afraid of your dorm room. Especially in a college environment, where a quiet space to study is essential and sleep is required. Instead of getting sufficient amounts of either, you are alert, ready to pounce or scream the next time a furry friend runs through your room.

It is not okay to walk down the hall and see a live rat stuck to a sticky trap, squirming for life, setting off a dozen nervous residents into fits of screams.

It is not okay to walk into the community kitchen, stomping your feet, so you can warn the rats that will then scurry out of the trash cans and escape behind the sink. Dorms are supposed to be a safe place for students to feel at home in. How many people can feel at home among uncaged rodents?

We see two options to deal with this problem. One, there is what the college is doing: placing sticky traps and baiting and killing rodents. While this seems to be working – as of press time no complaints have been filed since the traps were placed – there’s the issue of humanity. A liberal environment inevitably brings animal lovers, who take issue with the careless death of rats and mice. A live being, struggling for life while trapped in a sticky substance can be extremely disturbing not just to animal lovers, but to anyone who comes across it.

The other option: live, humane traps. While this is a nice alternative, these traps have been deemed ineffective by many pest control companies. While seeming humane, these traps are not so.

Pest companies report that if these traps aren’t checked daily, rodents die of dehydration or resort to cannibalizing themselves. Regardless of your position on animal rights, no one wants to see a rat cannibalizing itself.

It is also reported that rodents can enter residence halls through holes or gaps in the building, or through doors not properly sealed or left ajar. Paul Richards said that campus facilities is taking care of this problem. They are repairing many of the old door thresholds that have inevitably warped in their old age, leaving openings through which small creatures can enter.

It is good to hear that the college is doing something to help this problem. In the past, students have been frustrated by a lack of response from the administration and it is refreshing to see them actively attempting to rid the campus of this problem.

Regardless of what the college is doing, residents should take preventive measures to reduce the chances of rodents moving into the dorms and their rooms. Sealing food and closing off water containers in your dorm room is essential. Arming yourself against rodents will help you in ways the administration can’t.

We aren’t sure what the answer to this problem is but what we do know is if rodents are going to become permanent residents on campus, they should be forced to pay tuition.