The Patriot Ledger of Southofboston.com (2/2008: link removed; no longer working) reports that even students’ own furniture cannot be brought into dorm rooms, say Eastern Nazarene College officials, who are trying to prevent bed bug outbreaks on campus.
That means no mattresses, no sofas at the school in Quincy, Mass. The policy only applies to upholstered or soft furniture. As such, it does not mean students cannot bring in potentially-infested items, and the school recognizes that:
The insects spread by hitchhiking on things like luggage, clothing, beds and furniture. Locations with frequent turnover – like hotels, apartments, shelters and dorms – are vulnerable.
“It does not insulate us,” [Robert] Benjamin [Director of Residence Life] said about the ban on used furniture. “We are trying to eliminate at least one variable.”
According to this article, most colleges that ban upholstered furniture do so because of fire hazards. ENC is banning them not because they have had any known bed bug outbreaks, but because a sister school in San Diego has had bed bug troubles. They are trying to learn from the other school’s experiences. (Good to hear!)
The policy is not unproblematic: besides the enormous cost to students this fall, if the policy continues, students would be buying new items every year for four years. This is a serious hardship and will probably mean many simply live in a much sparser way than prior generations of students.