Hoax flyers allege rat infestation

Hundreds of flyers with photographs of rats falsely instructed residents of International House to evacuate the residence hall on Wednesday because of an alleged pest problem.

“In the recent health and safety inspection, several rats were seen on the eigth (sic) floor of International House,” the flyer said. “Since rats have been known to carry infectious diseases, we will be taking steps to eliminate them. Please leave your rooms between 8 and 9 PM on Wednesday, November 19th.”

The flyer ordered residents to leave furniture at least 10 inches from the walls.

Tim Shea, assistant property manager of Ambling Management and a GW alumnus, wrote in an e-mail to house managers that the flyers were a hoax. He said the University was investigating the incident.

“There is currently no rodent problem in International House, and residents are not required to vacate their rooms,” Shea wrote, adding that house managers should remind their residents to lock their doors when they are not in their rooms. Shea confirmed in a phone interview that there was an ongoing investigation.

Graduate student Josh Bartell, a house mentor on the second floor, sent an e-mail to his residents saying, “Health and safety inspections were conducted today and no such issue was found.”

“I got an e-mail from my house mentor today that the flyers going around were fake,” said sophomore Katie French, who lives in International House. “It is slightly creepy, since there are flyers going around here all the time and I House does have pest issues.”

She added, “I’m usually really comfortable about leaving the door open and so are a lot of people on the floor. Now, I’m rethinking about locking my door.”

Katerina Taketzis, a sophomore living in International House, said she was upset that the flyers mentioned evacuating the building.

She said, “Since there are already many concerns about safety and health in college dorms, it is very concerning that certain floors of our buildings are being told false information about evacuating the building.”

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