Students spot pesky pests in dining hall

by Beacon Staff • November 10, 2011

strongErin Farley, Beacon Correspondent/strong

Freshman Kristin Brice had just finished her pasta dish in the dining hall on Saturday when she heard a frightened shriek from a huddled group of diners across the cafeteria.

“Mouse!”

She ran over and saw the gray tiny rodent scuttle away and said she immediately alerted a dining hall employee.

The worker allegedly responded to Brice by saying that it was not the first time a mouse had scurried across the cafeteria.

In the past year and a half, Emerson has failed seven out of ten dining hall inspections.

The latest health inspection report of the dining hall, according to the City of Boston website, was on Aug. 16. The cafeteria violated four health codes, including code violation entitled Insects, Rodents, and Animals.

According to health inspectors’ comments made in the report, mouse droppings were found in the dining area, and the college was instructed to clean the area by removing all mouse droppings, and to provide proper pest control.

According to Neal Lespasio, director of facilities at Emerson, the Facilities Department is aware of the mouse problem and Lespasio said the department will be going through the area during break time.

“During Thanksgiving break we will take a significant look and clean the areas as much as possible,” Lespasio said.

At this time Lespasio said he did not think any rodents had been caught.

If mice are believed to be in the dining hall, Lespasio said, the Facilities Department logs all service calls and notifies the service contractor, who responds within 24 hours and follow up within two days.

The facilities department will then set up pest control traps — which Lespasio calls monitors — in places where mice may live, such as holes in the walls. The pest team then waits to see if anything was caught.

According to Lespasio, Emerson’s buildings go through a bi-weekly maintenance program. Additionally, Lespasio said the buildings are inspected and cleaned by a licensed contractor in July and August, with treatment applied as necessary.

“Any abatement and cleanup is the responsibility of the Facilities Department and the pest control contractor,” Lespasio said.

In addition to operating cafeterias in colleges, Aramark also provides food for prisons and stadiums. In recent years, according to ESPN, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Angel Stadium in Anaheim, both run by Aramark, were cited with dozens of critical violations for rodent infestations.

Aramark at Emerson and Aramark services could not be reached for comment.

Brice and her friends were not the first students at Emerson to spot the pests, as other students said their views of the dining hall changed after seeing the rodents. Ellis Friedman, a freshman writing, literature, and publishing major, said he has seen two mice in the dining hall.

“The mice definitely make me fear the DH [dining hall],” Friedman said. “It gives the place a bad reputation.”

Kathy Nguyen said she feels similar to Friedman and has been unhappy with the cleanliness of the dining hall.

“I saw the mouse in the dining hall. I already don’t like the DH that much; I would much rather eat at the Max,” said Kathy Nguyen, a freshman marketing communication major. “They need to clean the floors more efficiently. It’s disgusting that there is a mouse in the place where we eat.”

Students have spotted several mice making the dining hall their home over the past two months.