Berkeley students encounter mice, mold, bed bugs in dorms

UC Berkeley is working to address a rodent issue at two dormitories after students complained of mice, bed bugs, and other living conditions that students are posting about on Facebook.

Several students at Stern Hall, an all-female dormitory, said they have had issues with mice since they first moved into the dorm last August. 

“There’s really a laundry list of issues we’re facing in Stern,” Annabelle Long, a freshman student, said. “Everything from mice to bed bugs to no security at night, broken washing machines, cold showers, you name it, we have it.”

Long’s roommate, Danielle Dosch, said the university set up traps in their room, but they were responsible for disposing of the mice themselves.

“We stopped setting traps because honestly we didn't want to deal with dead mice,” Dosch said.

Another student, Alexis Han, said she kill two mice on her own after maintenance workers failed to respond to her requests.

“I had mice in my room for two to three months,” Han said. “I even saw one crawling up my curtain.”

One student who wished to remain anonymous showed KTVU what appears to be black mold on her window. She said she suffers from headaches and dizziness and wonders if there could be a connection.

Other issues at the dorm include cold showers, torn curtains, broken washing machines, reports of bed bugs, and no security. Students said it costs roughly $17,400 a year to live at Stern Hall. 

“In all the other dorms at night there’s someone sitting at the front desk, checking in each and every person that comes through the dorm to make sure they’re affiliated with the university,” Long said. “But just in recent weeks we’ve had several encounters of random people getting into the dorm and into the bathrooms because there’s no security at this entrance at night.”

A spokesman for UC Berkeley released the following statement to KTVU:

The health and safety of our students is our greatest concern. A handful of students have recently encountered mice in Stern and Foothills Halls. We understand how distressing that can be. We’re working to address this issue, and pest control and housing facilities staff are treating (setting traps, sealing points of entry, etc.) and cleaning impacted areas. These residential halls are located adjacent to wooded areas and there is always the risk of attracting wildlife such as rodents. Rodents are a matter that can take time to improve and that we will have to remain constantly vigilant against.

We are working with students who have been affected and have offered alternative housing options, if desired. We have disinfected spaces where rodents have been found and assisted students in cleaning clothing and other fabric items. We are providing ongoing prevention to help avoid attracting rodents by keeping common areas and service areas clean and free of food and by encouraging students to store food in glass, plastic or metal containers with tight lids; promptly and properly dispose of waste; and reduce clutter.  

“We would definitely want alternative housing and that has not been suggested to us as a possibility,” Dosch added. “It's clearly a space that hasn't been given love or attention in any recent year.”