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Students report skunk sightings

Skunks have been frequently sighted by students around residence halls and campus eateries this year, but University administrators said they have not dealt with any skunk incidents.

Students said they have seen the  animals on various campus quads and outside multiple buildings in recent weeks, and some expressed surprise at the seemingly high number of skunks on campus.

Isabella Amram ’17 said she saw three skunks in one night about two weeks ago near the Sharpe Refectory, in front of the Sciences Library and near the Gate.

Amram said she also saw a skunk under the arch covering the entrance to Morriss Hall and Champlin Hall last Thursday evening. “It was really scared” and running away from onlookers, Amram said.

“There seems to be an increase in skunks and other small animals all over the state,” said Stephen Morin, director of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. But staffers from the office have not responded to any reports from Brown community members about skunks because such reports fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Facilities Management, Morin added.

The Pembroke campus has been a hotspot for skunk sightings this semester, some students said. Asya Igmen ’17 said she saw a skunk on Pembroke Green three weeks ago and Katie Liu ’17 said she saw one outside the Gate a couple of weeks ago.

But skunks have also been prevalent on south campus, students said. Marileni Benopoulou ’17 and Tamsin Rankine-Fourdraine ’17 said they saw a skunk outside Josiah’s last Thursday evening. None of the students interviewed by The Herald said they were sprayed or attacked by the skunks.

Though students noted the increased presence of skunks on campus, administrators did not express concern about the animals.

“We are not aware of any situations involving skunks on campus; I have worked here over 20 years, and cannot recall any visits to Health Services due to skunk spraying or injury,” Health Services Associate Director Lynn Dupont wrote in an email to The Herald Monday.  “A few times per year we have students who come in with a dog bite or cat scratch, but (that’s) the extent of it.”

Michelle Nuey, manager of the community relations and outreach bureau for the Department of Public Safety, wrote in an email to The Herald that DPS has not received any recent reports about skunks. Nuey wrote that she “could not speculate” about the locations of skunk sightings.

Facilities Management could not be reached for comment about the reported skunk sightings.