Officials, Aramark still battling bugs at B-J

By Daniel Gilbert

Burton-Judson dining hall passed inspection more than a week ago, but many remain concerned that the infestation problem has not been fully resolved.

B-J officials reported that five cockroaches were sighted last Wednesday, and three more “baby” roaches were sighted in the west-dining hall in B-J on Thursday. Students were informed of the latter incident in a memo released on March 1.

Katie Callow-Wright, director of the housing system, and Cheryl Gutman, associate dean of students for housing and dining, drafted the memo. It said that the recent sightings of roaches indicate that the extermination is working.

“The problem we are experiencing now is the fallout from the remedies,” Gutman said. “Right now we are being extra-vigilant for signs of healthy roaches.”

If the problem persists until the end of finals week, Gutman and her staff will consider fumigating the entire building over spring break.

Though Gutman said the problem was not unprecedented, she admitted that the situation at B-J has become worse than in past years. While the cause of the proliferation of pests remains unclear to administrators, Gutman emphasized the difficulty of controlling pests in a facility as old as B-J.

“B-J was built in 1931, and there are various structures, no longer in use, that create a greater risk of infestation,” Gutman said.

The pest problem has been exacerbated by the fact that the University and Aramark share responsibility for controlling pests in B-J, making it difficult to coordinate efforts.

Ecolab, the company contracted by Aramark, is known to be one of the best in the business, according to Gutman.

Gutman said the University employs several pest-control companies, but is currently evaluating the effectiveness of having multiple providers of such a service.

Aramark has served food on campus since 1989, and the University has generally been satisfied with its quality. While the recent pest problems in B-J highlighted concerns, Gutman said the University does not plan to discontinue its contract with Aramark—which will last another year, with the possibility of a five-year extension by the University.

Gutman and her staff acknowledge the distress created by the pest problem, and they will serve a special dinner ninth week for students with B-J meal plans.

Student reaction to dining at B-J has been mixed. Emilie Sandoz, a second-year in the College is not particularly concerned with the recent sightings of roaches. “I live in the Shoreland, and I’ve definitely seen roaches there,” said Sandoz. “I feel that eating in B-J is probably safer after the recent infestation scare.”

Matt Cleary, resident head for Vincent House in B-J, said that, despite an initial drop in attendance, the dining hall was back to normal with the house table full as usual. “As far as I know, most people feel safe eating here,” Cleary said.

Others, like second-year in the College Allison Kean, have lost their appetites for the cuisine served in the B-J dining hall. “At this point I’m so disgusted with what’s happened at B-J that I don’t even want to eat there any more,” Kean said. “They say to report a roach if you see one. Well I’m sorry, if I see a roach at my dining table, I’m leaving.”

Breckinridge Resident Head Jenny Sachs, who witnessed a decrease in those eating at the house table in B-J, has another idea to counter B-J’s flagging attendance. “Bring back the chocolate fountain,” Sax said.