The new school year brought students, parties, and rats to the dormitories of Tyler Hall. A student first saw a rat at 2 a.m., September 13 and two days later more rats were seen in the dorm.
Berkshire Pest Control set-up rodent traps throughout the buildings and Tom McEvoy, Director of Housing, offered students rooms in the North Side Hotel or elsewhere on campus until the dorms were exterminated.
At the end of last year, students choosing to live in Tyler heard there were mice and some rats in the dorm but did not expect to see so many. While Tyler has had rats since the end of last semester, an exterminator came during the summer and a summer conference using the dorm did not encounter any rodents.
This semester, rats, usually nocturnal animals, appeared in broad daylight, and reports of rats attacking one another in the dorms were ominous signs that the rats had returned. Buildings and Grounds and the Berkshire Pest Control plugged up holes in rooms and put rodent traps in the basement, hallways and some bedrooms. Within two days, five to six rats were killed, but more remained.
Roommates Maja Carr ’02 and Liz Sterling ’02 are two students who found rats in their room. After stepping out of the shower, a rat surprised Sterling and chased her across the Annex.
Carr relates coming home to the sounds of a rat dying in her bedroom. “I heard the trap go off, and the sounds of whimpering. It was disgusting,” Carr said. Many of the Tyler One and Tyler Two girls, thanks to their parents, left the dorm spent the weekend in the Williams Inn.
The College, in addition to eliminating the rodents, expressed concern for the mental and physical health of the students in these dorms.
“It goes without saying that we want to restore Tyler to a fine place for [students] to live—it will take cooperation and communication…I am making this the highest priority of the office right now,” McEvoy wrote in an e-mail to Tyler house.
McEvoy, Director of the Health Center Ruth Harrison and representatives from custodial services met with Tyler residents to discuss combating the problem. Students moved furniture away from the walls, so the carpenters could check for holes as rats can squeeze through one-inch spaces. Further advice asked students not to kill rats on their own.
“Please be as clean as possible.” McEvoy instructed. Students removed all food from their rooms into College-provided coolers for better containment. McEvoy further instructed students not to leave food out, not to throw food into open containers and to only use “bathrooms for bathroom business.”
As of last Wednesday, the situation appears to be under control, “although I am reluctant to say we have eliminated the problem,” McEvoy said. The basement still has some rats though traps from the hallways were removed. The residents of Tyler and the College are monitoring the situation.