Student Aaryn Secker finally moved out after battling bed bugs in Solin Hall for months:
Secker notified Howard Zinman, Services Coordinator for Solin Hall, after discovering tiny red bites all over her body in September. Residence Services was initially responsive to her concerns, replacing her mattress and couch, paying for dry cleaning, and spraying her room with chemicals to kill the bugs.
But despite the intensive cleaning, Secker said that the bedbugs returned.
“They kept coming back. McGill [Residence Services] replaced my bed about twice. By the end of it they ended up taking out my bed and my fridge,” she said.
When the problem persisted, Secker moved out for good and sought rent compensation from the Student Housing Office for the entire academic year.
McGill’s refusal to reimburse Secker for rent or to terminate her lease has caused Secker to threaten bringing her case to the Régie du Logement, Quebec’s housing office.
Zinman refused to comment on Secker’s case, citing confidentiality reasons. He said the process of treating bedbug infestations has not changed since last year’s incidents in MORE Houses and New Residence, where bedbugs were found in several rooms.
It is not easy to treat for bed bugs, let alone in student housing. But replacing a bed twice does not seem like the most well-considered protocol, since beds can be treated, and moving infested furniture is tricky.
Perhaps McGill and their pest control operator should talk to Stanford and their pest control operator (who we believe is Crane Pest, San Francisco). Stanford has had its share of bed bugs, but the reports of their responses so far have been the best we have heard of on college campuses. And let’s face it, there will be bed bugs on college campuses, you can’t stop that from happening, though you can try to implement policies to help prevent it. And you can educate students and staff about the problem.
What matters most, though, is the response when bed bugs are discovered.