For years, the scent of food from the Sharpe Refectory has wafted through Wriston Quadrangle, allowing students who pass through to anticipate their next meal simply by smelling the air. This fall, however, students living in or passing through Wriston Quad may have noticed a new aroma intermingling with that of sizzling French fries and hamburgers - the pungent scent of skunk.
Some students around campus, and particularly those who live on Wriston Quad, have reported sighting and smelling a skunk, or possibly multiple skunks. Brittany Locke '08 reported seeing a skunk near Barbour Hall on Tuesday and one on Wriston Quad within the past few weeks.
"We were overly excited to see it - to know that it exists," she said.
Ali Toth '08 said she saw a skunk outside of Goddard House and smelled it from Diman House's first floor. "That's probably one of the foulest odors ever," she said.
Kelley Calkins '10, was surprised to see a skunk within 20 yards of Thayer Street early last week. "It was mad scary," she said. "It was definitely walking like it owned the place, and I was a little taken aback by its arrogance."
Director of Custodial Services Donna Butler said that they had been unaware of the skunks' presence on campus and that while there are occasionally problems with squirrels, rabbits, possums or raccoons, she had never heard reports of skunks before. She said Facilities Management would take action regarding skunks only if there were concerns or complaints addressed to custodial services. "We only react to the work order, we don't hunt," she said.
Butler said Critter Control, a wildlife control company, has been called to search for evidence of skunks and to set up a humane trap if such evidence is found. The animals would be captured and then released elsewhere, she explained.
"No animal is killed," she said.
Butler said she understood why people might want the skunk to be moved elsewhere. "Whatever they emit or spray burns the eyes, takes a heck of a long time to get out of clothing. There (are) pets, so there's a risk to the pet getting sprayed, and the cost incurred to get the dog fumigated, so to speak."
Nonetheless, some students said they were glad to have the skunk as a part of the Brown community. "I think the excitement of having new animals around Brown outweighs the small chance that I'd actually get sprayed by the skunk," said Brett Cropp '08.5, who lives in Marcy House. "And if I did get sprayed by the skunk, it would be a good experience ... I'd be a hero around these parts."
Toth agreed. "I kind of like them. I think they're cute and friendly, or kind of friendly as long as you don't get too close," she said.
Locke, however, said she would prefer that the skunk not be allowed to take up permanent residence at Brown. "It's gross, it smells, I don't want to get sprayed, and it pops out from everywhere."