This story was updated on Monday, August 22 to report that students were moved back into Wood Hall on Sunday.
Students were moved back into Wood Hall on Sunday after all of the building's furniture was replaced, which met the timeline that Richmond College Dean Joe Boehman said he expected last week.
Despite having met the timeline, there has been backlash stemming from Boehman's original comments. Jarrett Dieterle, RC '10, dealt with bed bugs during his time at Richmond and was surprised by Boehman's statement that the university had never had an issue with bed bugs before last week. Dieterle provided email exchanges with then-housing officials Carolyn Bigler and Joan Lachowski that showed acknowledgement of the problem during his senior year.
"I remember pretty much being shocked when I read that," Dieterle said. "They were claiming they had no history of this. I lived that history."
The Wood Hall residents were less upset. Freshman Kurt Linke said moving back in was "super easy," and Brian Sun said he enjoyed the free pizza and drinks that were provided and was happy to be off the cots in the Weinstein Center.
This story was updated on Friday, August 19 to include a report of bed bugs from The Collegian's archives.
Students have been relocated to Gray Court, the Weinstein Center and local hotels after bed bugs were found in Wood Hall on Tuesday, Richmond College Dean Joe Boehman said.
Orkin, a pest control service, used trained dogs to detect bed bugs on all three floors of Wood Hall Wednesday night, Boehman said. Students in rooms determined to have bed bugs were put up in hotels last night and shuttled to campus this morning for orientation. Those without bed bugs stayed in their rooms last night.
The building has since been evacuated, and around 100 students will sleep on cots in the gym of the Weinstein Center until the problem is resolved, which is expected to be Sunday, Boehman said. The gym area where the students are being housed is blocked off.
“They’re going to be hanging out together in the gym of the rec center until we’re able to clear the floors,” Boehman said.
The Weinstein Center was the best option for housing the students because Richmond already has capacity issues with housing, Boehman said.
Richmond College plans to use a high-temperature heating process recommended by Orkin to disinfect Wood Hall and all of student’s belongings, Boehman said. All furniture in the building will be replaced.
Students began finding bed bugs as early as Sunday night. Freshman Kurt Linke settled into his bed after his first day of pre-orientation that night and noticed something crawling on his body. He consulted with his roommate and resident assistant, then determined that his bed was infested.
"I thought Richmond would be like, this beautiful, perfect school," Linke said. "But obviously that's not the case."
Linke said that facilities advised him to stay in his room for the night to avoid spreading the bugs. The next day he moved to the basement of Gray Court with his roommate and others, such as David Kim.
"On my first night I noticed there were bugs and my friend told me not to worry about it," Kim said. "I Googled bed bugs and the bites looked exactly right."
Freshman Matt Waldron has dealt with bed bugs before. On his visit last spring, he and his family stayed in a La Quinta that they found to be infested. This time around he has avoided that fate despite living in Wood. Still, he said he was worried about his privacy while staying in Weinstein.
“You can’t do anything,” Waldron said. “You can’t relax. It’s definitely going to be a hassle.”
Waldron did acknowledge the positive of living in a gym with 100 other freshmen. He said there was no better way to get to know fellow students than to cram into a gym together.
The infestation has not disrupted freshmen orientation much, both Boehman and Waldron said.
Parents are frustrated, though. While Waldron’s parents handled it better than he expected, his roommate’s parents have contacted people to complain and are concerned about their child, Waldron said.
The university has briefed parents on the situation and compiled an email list to update them on the termination process, Boehman said. The greatest issue for Boehman and parents is the comfort of the students, most of which were greeted with bed bugs during their first few days of college.
“In conversations I’ve had with parents, they don’t like it, they’re not happy and they shouldn’t be,” Boehman said. “But they understand and they recognize that we’re trying to do everything we can.”
Boehman said Richmond had never had a bed-bug issue before. The Collegian has reported several cases of bed bugs in the past decade, including multiple cases in 2010. For more information on how the school plans to handle this issue, visit this page.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Contact editor-in-chief Charlie Broaddus at firstname.lastname@example.org