By Ariel Steinsaltz
Felicia Steele, an assistant professor in the English department, noticed a pungent smell coming from the area near the elevator and stairs in Bliss Hall on Sept. 15.
Two days later, the smell grew worse. Steele and the English department’s program assistant Michelle Ordini suspected that the stench was coming from a decomposing animal, likely a rodent.
“Our program assistant tried to get someone to come out and figure out what was going on, because there was some kind of dead animal trapped somewhere,” Steele said. “They weren’t able to find it. The smell persisted for another five days and then it disappeared.”
Ordini said that the mice came into the building after there was a change in weather.
After the rodents’ discovery, Steele explained that exterminators put mouse traps in different areas of the basement and the first floor of the building, which houses the philosophy department. Despite efforts to reduce the smell, Steele and other faculty members still could not work on the first floor until the issue was resolved.
“I think the reason that I was so frustrated about it was because it made the whole first floor and the kitchen completely unusable,” Steele said. “There was no way to step into the space because it just smelled so horrible.”
Steele said that all of the faculty members, staff and students who spend time in the Bliss Hall Lounge are affected by the smell.
“It’s a really painful place to be,” she said.
Steele explained that she has a very acute sense of smell, and that this incident agitated her. She is concerned by the College’s lack of response to handle the situation.
“Part of what’s so frustrating is that people don’t seem to necessarily be as responsive, or there don’t seem to be as many staff members, like custodial and facility staff, available to the department staff as there once were,” Steele said.
Silas Jones, a junior English and secondary education major, said that students should not have worry about the presence of rodents in academic buildings.
“I was sitting in Bliss for three hours today,” Silas said. “I would rather not have to be around mice.”