Last Friday, Corpus Christi JCR instigated a food ban after several sightings of its newest members – a community of rodents.
The ban was short-lived as on Monday evening students were greeted with a surprise announcement that it had been temporarily lifted, albeit only until the weekend.
After much consultation with the members of the SCR, JCR President Jack Evans announced in a sombre email to students that the room would be a “food free zone” after the “rat infestation took a turn for the worst with seven sightings in the last 48 hours”.
“At around noon on Wednesday, a small rodent was spotted in the JCR. In the proceeding 48 hours we had several other sightings to the distress and sadness of the JCR. As JCR President I declared to the rodents that if they had not left the JCR by midnight on Friday we would declare war,” he said.
Evans suggested the habit of JCR members eating food such as kebabs and pizza in the common room at night was the cause of the infestation. He quipped: “I blame Ahmed more than anyone!”
As part of its “battle plan”, the College implemented a food closure in the JCR – with a harsh fine of £5 slapped on anyone caught with food in the premises. In addition, JCR members were exhorted to “take responsibility” for the use of the premises. After all, said Evans: “It is our food and our mess that caused the rats to set up camp within the JCR.”
In his email to the college, Evans requested that members “keep the JCR tidy, lest they attract more vermin”, and if anyone caught sight of their furry new additions, to contact him immediately.
Events usually held in the JCR that involved some form of consumables such as the daily JCR Tea were also moved out of the JCR. Goh Li Sian, a lawyer at Corpus related the bizarre sight of people having “to resort to eating biscuits at the entrance during JCR tea instead of in the room itself”.
Goh noted that the student response to the ban was not particularly heartening. She said: “It has been visibly subdued and everyone is extremely saddened by this ban. Maybe they should make this a college-wide ban until we’re completely vermin-free.”
Her initial response to the problem was one of disgust. She said: “Some people practically live in the JCR and well, I guess we could all still hang out inside there, as long as we don’t bring any food in. But why would you want to risk contact with mice urine?”
While the JCR remained open, members were encouraged to “remain on their guard”. They were instructed by accommodation manager Sam Cunningham not to “put anything down on the sides of the JCR that they wish to keep pee free”, for mice “leave a trail of pee in their wake”.
However, Corpus JCR members were told not to lose heart. “This is a temporary ban, once our furry friends have gone the ban will be lifted,” Evans said. At last week’s JCR meeting, Evans also gave a rousing speech to the JCR, modifying the fabled “we shall never surrender speech” given by war-time Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, to inspire his “troops” to uphold the ban.
He said: “We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our JCR, whatever the cost will be.”
Despite the lifting of the ban, students were encouraged to remain vigilant and to continue to uphold the exemplary discipline they had demonstrated over the weekend.
This left Goh reasonably bemused. She said: “Evidently this is just a temporary thing – maybe they’re using this as an incentive for us to maintain the cleanliness of the JCR. To be honest, I think it’s plain confusing if they keep going back and forth.”
The College is currently deliberating whether or not to terminate this pesky problem by sending in the exterminators – all the JCR knows for now is that they are allowed to bring food into the JCR again.
Of the situation, Emelen Leonard, a Classicist, said: “Well I’m glad that we can eat again. I guess we just need to maintain this discipline or the mice will return. Ahmed returns to the JCR once more!”