Rat found in Memorial Union bathroom

Jaycee Kalama, News Contributor

The discovery of a rodent in the Memorial Union and its subsequent removal from the building sparked a frenzy of Facebook posts and plenty of chuckles among the OSU community, especially after being named Remy. 

A rat was found sitting on a toilet seat in the Memorial Union men’s bathroom on Feb 22. The student who found the rat immediately reported it to staff. The student building manager on duty responded initially and contacted Mike Mayers, the MU assistant director of facilities, who described the situation as an eyebrow-raising story to add to the MU’s facility legacy.

“My friend Justin was going to go to the bathroom before our acapella group warm up and opened a stall to find Remy,” Keagan Simmons, a fourth-year new media communications student and a witness of the rodent incident, said. “Our acapella group warms up in the MU next to the ballroom and it was right on top of the toilet.”  

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Simmons, being the one who posted the picture of the infamous rat to Facebook, said his initial thought when seeing the rat was, “Wow this is kind of tight.”

Situations like this are can be more common in older facilities where infrastructure and old closed plumbing systems are more apt to fail or develop open leaks. Simmons later said the rat incident does not concern him because he knows that there are bound to be rodents in a building as old as the Memorial Union, being that it is 91 years old.

In this particular incident, though, the rat was found in a renovated bathroom. Meaning that it was more likely due to the ground-floors’ stall plumbing proximity to the below-ground sewer main. Additionally, the bathroom was near an event space that hadn’t hosted an event in at least 20 hours. 

The MU staff has had prior training in Integrated Pest Management and according to Mayers, the MU team was able to make a plan that kept the rodent in the bathroom, away from guests and the MU ballroom. They then got the rat to walk straight into the waiting container for easy capture and removal from the building. It was immediately driven across campus and released west of campus in the woods near Oak Creek. The bathroom was immediately disinfected, cleaned and made ready for the evening’s event by MU custodians. 

“The following workday our maintenance staff inspected that bathrooms’ plumbing infrastructure to see that the plumbing vent cover was intact,” Mayer said. “Unfortunately, while it’s rare to see rodents successfully making it “upstream” from below-ground sewer infrastructure, it is not unheard of.”