1677028251.pngThe pitter-patter of tiny feet in the middle of the night is not a welcome sound to on-campus residents. Yet many students are caught in a battle with mice intent on squeaking their way into campus life while the university looks on.

The horror stories are rampant. On any given day, you can hear students discuss the mice hiding in their stovetops, or the surprise droppings they discovered on their kitchen counters. Mice have been found behind ovens, in sinks and bedrooms, inside laundry hampers, on pillows and even frolicking openly on living room floors. In addition, we have been told that there is at least one student who has been bitten by a mouse. Mice are everywhere, and they have become more than just a nuisance.

Contrary to what some might argue, the mice problem is not solely the result of subpar student cleanliness. Certainly those who do not adequately tidy up their living space are not helping their cause. But mice have squirmed into clean apartments as well as messy ones — they have even been discovered in apartments that do not contain any food whatsoever.

Some might also point out that mice are an unavoidable part of city life. While the university’s urban location might account for the occasional mouse sighting, that argument is a hard sell to students who encounter six, eight or 10 mice running across their floors in a matter of months.

When mice invade food storage areas, and even more disturbingly when one is not afraid to bite a student, they become an undeniable health hazard. It is the university’s responsibility to fix, or at least curtail, the problem. This week, the university signaled that it might step up its pest control efforts by hiring a service to spray Henle Village kitchens for mice. But that is only the first step. What is needed is a thorough extermination effort to flush out the ever-growing mouse population.

When the university asks itself why so many students choose to move off campus, perhaps it should look at what kind of landlord it itself is. On-campus housing costs are not cheap, and yet rodent problems are only one of a wide spectrum of facilities and pest issues that students face. Although some students may not maintain their residences as they should, many take great care of their on-campus homes. The university ought to do its part, just as many students do theirs. Together, students and facilities can send the message to Stuart Little and his friends that they are not welcome on the Hilltop anymore.

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