CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR
On Friday, April 8, Assistant Director of Conduct Tiffany Bogue sent out an email to the residents of Johnson and Turner dormitories alerting them that there was a potential outbreak of scabies. “At this point, the case has NOT been confirmed. Yet as a precautionary step, we are sending this email in order to outline important information and preventative measures,” Bogue wrote in the email with information on scabies and what the Residential Life office is doing to prevent the disease from spreading.
Sarcoptic mange, or scabies, is a short-term skin disease caused by female mites that burrow into the skin to live and deposit eggs, causing an allergic reaction and creating a rash. It can be contracted through skin to skin contact or clothing. According to Dean of Students Joel Perez, there is only one confirmed case of scabies in Johnson and the student has already received medical attention. This skin condition can be treated with medication that kills the mites and their eggs. There are no confirmed cases in Turner. The Residential Office encouraged all students to increase the frequency they wash their clothing and bedding as preventative measures and even provided these residents with free laundry over the duration of the weekend.
Housekeeping staff immediately disinfected the bathrooms, lounge furniture and carpets in both Johnson and Turner. Administration encouraged any student with concerns to visit the Health Center should they show symptoms.
While the Residential Life staff acted quickly, many students were unhappy that only the residents in those two halls were alerted. “We see this as a recurring theme of administration, telling bits and pieces of information. In this case they’re only telling certain students, which promotes speculation and rumors,” First-year Class President Detrick Manning said. “I think it would’ve been helpful to have all students know about this so that they have a direct line of communication between administration and the student body rather than just telling some residents.”
Sophomore and ASWC Senate Residential Student Representative Hannah Martin echoed Manning’s sentiments. She reported at the Senate meeting on Monday, April 11 that many of her constituents were unhappy that the information was relayed to only select students. “I would prefer if they had sent out an email to the entirety of the student body because anybody on campus is at risk of being infected with scabies and it’s really the students’ right to be aware of any risk to their own health,” Martin said. “I think it was wrong that they sent it to just the residents of Johnson and Turner.”
According to Perez, there wasn’t a high risk to the campus, therefore only those few students were informed. “The decision was made [to not email all students] after consulting with healthcare professionals. Scabies is only contracted skin to skin for long periods of time, so we believe that given that it’s so isolated, focusing on educating the students in that particular residence hall was the way to go. We decided to not to let the entire residential community know because we only had one confirmed case [and] one suspected case,” Perez said. “If we got more confirmed cases we’d send out an email to the entire residential population. The fact [was] that we only had one confirmed case and that it was being treated.”
Dean of Students Office and Residential Life encourage students with concerns of having contracted the skin condition to visit the Health Center. According to administration, as of now, there are no more reported cases.