I imagine most students’ return to the joys of term time, especially after a productive Christmas break, will not have been as pleasant as waking up in a bed at home, going downstairs to a fresh, healthy breakfast. Inmates of Eric Milner Block A, however, seem to be worse off than most.
A back-to-university surprise for these students has been the appearance of rats and silverfish sharing the same accommodation, while contributing nothing to the rent.
For new undergraduates and other students paying a premium for the convenience to live on campus, or to enjoy a collegiate sense of community, it is simply unacceptable that they have to put up with such a disturbance.
It is unclear whether the villainous vermin are simply ignorant trespassers or intelligent enemies resorting to guerrilla warfare. Environmental service contractors have found evidence that three kitchens may have been besmirched which has led the accommodation overlords to order the locking of all dining rooms.
There may have been a few suggestions that this was the intention of the rats and/or silverfish and that they may have collaborated with the objective of forcing the power players to make this move.
At this point in time I cannot confirm whether this is the unwanted visitors’ first step to starve the students to death with a view at occupying the residence permanently, at which point the block could become a headquarters for the planning and execution of a potential plan to invade other areas of campus.
Taking matters into their own hands, students have allegedly resorted to merciless measures such as the laying of traps in tactical positions, for example near kitchen doors. However, with limited results there may be changes to the strategies employed.
Thinking outside the box, with a less physical but more psychological approach, the use of anti-vermin propaganda may intimidate the intruders. Failing that, we could copy the tactics of the totalitarian state we seem to be evolving into and utilise surveillance technology to identify perpetrators.
However, it seems we are a long way off from developing facial recognition software for rats and silverfish. Employing sketch artists may prove to be a more fruitful pursuit.
Regardless, the situation persists. Weekend meals are not enough to compensate for what has happened and the university should seek to demolish the building, especially considering what the structure has endured in the past.
Currently, it remains as an unwelcome reminder of a battle being fought between at least three species which is yet to be won.