By Benjamin Pontz, News Editor
When Laura Duquette ’17 returned Tuesday from a class research trip, she had hoped to get some sleep. Around 4:00 a.m. the next morning, however, she awoke to several mice in her room on the second floor of Baughman Hall, a residence hall on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, which provides housing to some upperclass students.
Duquette contacted the Office of Residential & First-Year Programs (RFYP or “Reslife”), and her information was forwarded to the Facilities Services department, which told her a technician would assess the situation by the end of the day. Around 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, Duquette reports that she saw another mouse come from under her radiator, at which point she called the Department of Public Safety (DPS), and later, she found contact information for a maintenance technician herself.
“He found a couple of holes in my room behind the radiator and where a copper pipe goes into the floor and plugged them with rags and taped over them with duct tape,” Duquette said.
On Thursday, she found rodents had chewed through or pushed past the duct tape, and she again contacted the facilities department to express concern.
“Imagine waking up to the sound of duct tape slowly being pulled up from the floor,” she said.
Her father also drove to the residence hall to assess the situation, and Duquette says he ultimately explained to a maintenance technician how to “properly close off entry points.”
Ralph Duquette, her father, provided these photos to The Gettysburgian from his visit to the residence hall.
He expressed frustration at what he saw as a lack of accountability from the various campus departments who were involved; he says that several phone messages he left were not returned.
Danielle Phillips, Director of RFYP, and James Biesecker, Director of Facilities Planning & Management, responded to a request for comment in a joint email, stating, “There is 24-hr emergency immediate response service for the following emergency needs: fire, flood, overflowing toilets, heating and cooling concerns. All other reports are addressed as soon as possible.”
A rodent infestation, accordingly, does not qualify under the 24-hour emergency response service protocol.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly a dozen diseases are directly spread by rodents and 15 more diseases are indirectly spread by rodents; thus, they recommend a comprehensive cleaning process after an infestation.
Phillips and Biesecker went on to state that Duquette was offered alternate housing, but that she declined the offer. Maintenance staff will continue to monitor the situation in the coming days.
No other students living in Baughman Hall have reported issues with rodents, and the student who lives directly below Duquette’s room said that he has not seen anything concerning in his room.
Overall, Duquette remains frustrated with the college’s response to infestation issues, especially given that she says she cleans her room regularly, does not have excessive trash, and stores food properly.
“The college doesn’t seem to be very competent in handling any infestation issues, seeing as my sophomore year we had an issue with insects nesting in the Quarry apartment attics and raining down through the ceiling lights onto us,” she said. “For how much tuition is, I shouldn’t have to fight with nature indoors. I have plenty of other things to stress over.”
Editor-in-chief Jamie Welch contributed to this report.