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Students See Mice in Lobdell Court

By Emy J. Chen

One student reported seeing a rodent in the food-serving area of Lobdell Court last week, and others have reported seeing mice in the dining area.

The rodents were mice, said Director of the Safety Office John M. Fresina. An exterminator was contacted and the problem has been taken care of, he said.

Alberto Castillo '94 saw what he believed to be a rat "running around on the rice" in the Cafe Features entree section, he wrote in a letter to The Tech ["Rat Was a Surprise," Sept. 30].

"The server did not even notice the animal," Castillo said. "When I pointed it out to her, she screamed and called her supervisors. I left right after that."

The animal may have been a mouse, but it was a "big, brown, and furry animal, not a small, gray one you see in some dorms," Castillo said.

Director of the Campus Activities Complex Phillip J. Walsh classified the rodents as mice, not rats.

"It was reported to me that the mouse was inside the piece of equipment where the food was - whether it was on the food or not, we don't know," said ARA General Manager Rob McBurney. ARA runs the food service operations on campus.

All the food on the serving line at that particular time was thrown out, McBurney said. The food cost hundreds of dollars, he said.

Walsh said that an exterminating company regularly takes care of the Institute buildings for pest control. Mice "are going to be an issue" in a city along a river, Walsh said.

Because of the mouse sightings, the extermination company has been called in to do more work than their normal maintenance, Walsh said.

McBurney said he was not aware of any other mouse sightings in Lobdell.

Sightings in dining area

Other students have reported seeing mice around the dining area.

Mitch H. C. White '97 said he saw a mouse in Lobdell last week around dinner time. "It was a small, brown, prairie mouse crawling in the corner" on the elevated area of the dining room, he said. Though "one guy got up, looked all disgusted, and left," White said he was not surprised by the incident.

Because the exterminating company is restricted in the chemicals it can use, it might take some time "to completely eradicate the situation," Walsh said.

In the fall, pest control efforts usually increase because the cold weather drives rodents indoors, Walsh said. "I'm not aware of any area in the city that doesn't have to deal with this on a regular basis," he said.

In the past few years the Student Center has not had much of a mouse problem, Walsh said. "Unfortunately, we do get in periods where mice do occur," he said.

"The only way to keep mice out of this building is to close up all the doors and windows and not let anyone in," McBurney said.

Walsh and McBurney said that no complaints have been made to their offices.