Recent allegations circulating among students at the University of Sussex suggest a rat problem across campus, particularly in the on-campus accommodation Lewes Court. 

The Badger interviewed a group of students residing in Lewes Court who confirmed the rat issue in their flat. The problem first came to light in early October 2023 when a student discovered that rats had infiltrated their kitchen, evidenced by chewed plastic bread bags, a trail of breadcrumbs, and rat droppings in kitchen cupboards. Expressing frustration, one student remarked, “I had to throw out all my cereal and pasta. F*** those rats.” Fortunately, financial compensation for the affected food items was successfully claimed from the university.

The affected student promptly reported the situation to the Lewes Court Maintenance Team, who acted swiftly. Within hours of initial contact, a team member addressed the issue by closing up various holes in the kitchen and implementing rat poison. Residents were also advised to refrain from leaving any food out to prevent future occurrences.

Image: geography.org.uk
Image: geography.org.uk

Despite ongoing efforts by the Lewes Court Maintenance Team throughout the academic year, the students reported that the rat problem persists in their flat. In early December, they contacted the maintenance team once again, expressing concerns about rats being audible in the kitchen and adjacent bedrooms both day and night. Their main concerns revolved around hygiene, deeming the situation “unacceptable as they are vermin and carry diseases,” and expressing uncertainty about the cleanliness of their utensils.

Regrettably, the rat presence lingers into 2024, as one student returning for New Year’s Eve celebrations found evidence of rat faeces in the flat. The hope is that the issue can be effectively addressed in the coming year, ensuring a safer and more hygienic living environment for all residents.

In response to questions about the status of campus buildings, a University of Sussex spokesperson said: “Our best evidence suggests that Lewes Court and Arts Building A/B have no rodent problems.

“We want students living on-campus to have the best experience possible, and our teams work hard to ensure our student accommodation is high quality to provide a home away from home.

“We take all reports of rodent activity very seriously, responding to reports within 24 hours. We also have multiple channels through which students can report any incidents.”

“We are currently investigating two reports made by residents at Lewes Court but investigations have so far found no evidence of rodents, or any entry or exit points rodents could use. However, we are monitoring the situation.

“We urge anyone to report any suspected rodent activity so it can be investigated and resolved quickly.”

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