Students are welcomed back from winter break with furry little critters as dorm mates. Laurel, Lantana and Blanco are three halls that have been affected by a rodent infestation.
The first floor meeting in Laurel was going as expected—reviewing rules, talking about winter break and students’ latest Netflix binge. That is, until the all-too-casual mention of rats in the ceilings.
Residents of Laurel have reportedly heard rats scurrying overhead or in the walls and have even noticed bites and nibbles on the ceiling tiles. Jocelyn Sorto, social work freshman, is a resident in Lantana Hall and has dealt with two baby rats fall from her ceiling.
“I was lying in bed, drifting off to sleep after a super long day of classes, when I heard something fall onto my desk,” Sorto said. “At first it didn’t register that it would be a rat, until I heard crying noises. I got up and walked over to my desk to find a newborn rat laying on my desk on top of my new school supplies.”
Sorto said the second rat fell from her ceiling and landed behind her TV. Having to live with rats is definitely not something students and their parents should be paying for. It is a huge health hazard and more action should be taken than filing out work orders.
To make matters even worse, resident assistants are seemingly unprepared to handle the situation.
“I went down to the front desk to see if someone could help because I was sure there was like a nest of rats above my room, and all they did was tell me to wait for a work order to be sent,” Sorto said. “It was discouraging because I didn’t feel like they really considered how awful it was to just wait around for more rats to fall.”
Texas State needs to consider every aspect and every possibility of student housing. RAs should not only help make dorm life a social and fun experience, but also a safe one. The top requirement for this job is to develop an environment of comfortable living—rats falling from the ceiling is not comfortable living.
It is completely understandable for RAs to be repulsed by the rodents, but as a higher level of authority, they should never expose students to such a danger. Additionally, they should not make students personally responsible for disposing of them.
This is not a problem solely pertinent to the unlucky student who comes face-to-face with a rat, and it should not be treated as such.
When Sorto reached out to the department head, she began to see the school take action.
“Maintenance was coming in every other day to physically check up on my ceiling and even their supervisors came to check. The (residence director), as well as my RA, made sure that I felt safe and kept me informed on the status of my room,” she said.
Sorto’s case is just one of many that could have been prevented. RAs need to be properly trained for these situations and Texas State should have fixed this infestation before risking its students.
No one wants to walk in on a Ratatouille scenario in their dorm’s kitchen. Let’s try to stay safe, Bobcats.