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The rats don’t run Brown’s campus, but they have a strong presence at Perkins

Facilities Management cites now-removed compost site as possible cause

This fall, residents of Perkins Hall have encountered an unexpected — and some might say unwelcome — sight outside of the building: rodents.

“One time I was picking music out on my phone and my foot hit something, and when I looked back it was a dead rat,” Perkins resident Lily Yu ’26 wrote in an email to The Herald.

Yu added that she has seen the rats at least once a week since the beginning of the semester.

With multiple residents on the south end of the University’s campus expressing concerns about repeated rat encounters since the beginning of the semester, the Department of Facilities Management chose to remove compost sites outside Perkins Hall this past October, Director of Facilities Services Deborah Dunphy wrote in an email to The Herald.


According to Abigael Bousquet ’26, the rats have been a “persistent issue” for Perkins residents since move-in. 

“I'm glad the compost area was removed, but there are still plenty of rats around,” she wrote in an email to The Herald. “I think that was more (of) a bandaid on the problem than a true solution.” She added that she’s still noticing several rats in and around the dumpsters in the area, which contain food scraps. 

According to Dunphy, the presence of rats around Perkins has been a larger issue this year compared to previous years due to the “materials contained in the composting area.” After working with a pest control contractor, Facilities Management determined that the area was “contributing to the growth of the colony” by serving as a source of food for the rats, Dunphy wrote.

“Facilities Management is working collaboratively with (the Division of) Campus Life to address concerns as they arise,” she added.

In an Oct. 30 email from the Office of Residential Life, residents of Perkins and Young Orchard were instructed to stop using the compost site, which was being removed, and instead discard compost items in the dumpsters and trash rooms for the remainder of the year.

The University’s Office of Sustainability and Resiliency is currently exploring alternative locations for compost sites, though they have yet to decide on a specific location, Assistant Vice President of Sustainability and Resiliency Jessica Berry wrote in an email to The Herald. “We are committed to identifying a way community members can continue to compost,” she added. 

Both Yu and Bousquet added that they are unsure about the possible health effects of the rats, but do not have any immediate health and safety concerns. Bousquet wrote that the most significant issue is that the rats are “annoying.”

For Yu, sightings of the rats have been less frequent recently, but she is unsure whether or not this is due to the removal of the compost site. 

“The lessening presence of rats may also just be due to the weather changing,” she wrote. “Once the weather warms up again, I think we'll be able to tell if the rat problem has been resolved or not.”


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