Policy and Procedure Regarding Bats in Campus Buildings
Bats throughout western Massachusetts can be found near, and occasionally in, buildings during the warmer months (before moving to caves, mines, etc. to hibernate from early fall until late spring). In acknowledging the impossibility of entirely bat-proofing any building situated in a natural bat habitat, Williams College follows the guidelines below for response and prevention.
- Campus Safety and Security Officers act as first responders whenever a bat is sighted in a campus building. Students, staff, and faculty who find a bat in a campus building should contact CSS at 413.597.4444.
- Following Massachusetts’ Environmental Health and Safety protocol, CSS officers capture all bats in locations where human contact is at all likely. During weekday hours, captured bats are transferred to Greylock Animal Hospital and then to the Massachusetts state rabies laboratory for testing. On nights and weekends, bats are stored in a designated cold room in the Science Center for transfer to Greylock Animal Hospital. Any bat droppings are removed as soon as possible by a pest control contractor, who also seals any means of entry that might be identified. Building inhabitants are informed of the location of any bat droppings and warned to avoid them.
- CSS and/or Student Housing notifies all building inhabitants that a bat has been captured and makes every effort to confirm that none of the inhabitants have been bitten or had direct contact. Any inhabitants who believe they may have been bitten by or come into direct with a bat should contact Health Services at 413.597.2206. (After hours, follow the prompts to connect with the on-call physician.) Students who would like a different room to use temporarily while the situation is being resolved, should contact the Office of Student Life at 413.597.4747 during regular business hours, or contact Campus Safety at 413.597.4444 outside of regular business hours.
- Students, faculty, and staff should keep window screens in place at all times and report any broken, torn, or missing screens to Facilities so that they can be fixed or replaced, and avoid propping open exterior doors.
- Williams maintains about 70 bat houses, most of them placed near the college’s residential rental properties on the streets in and around campus (where bat sightings are most frequent) to draw them away from the center of campus. Three bat houses are installed on the north, south and east sides of Dodd Hall.
- Custodial staff inspect buildings for bats in their normal cleaning rounds, paying particular attention to student residences when rooms “turn over” at the start of the fall semester and at the end of spring semester before the arrival of students living on campus for the summer. All student rooms are inspected as well during Spring Break.
- During the college’s annual review for Certificate of Occupancy, the town building inspector accompanies Facilities staff through every campus building, paying particular attention to any unsealed means of entry. Whenever bat droppings are found, the college will hire a pest control contractor to clean and check for means of entry.