By MICHELLE TRUJILLO
Over the past year, Pima Community College has developed an uncontrollable infestation of the Cynomys gunnisoni.
They are small herbivorous rodents that burrow in the ground and are better known as prairie dogs.
Prairie dogs have been spotted by students around all six campuses. Students even have witnessed the cute but damaging rodents inside the Pima buildings.
“I saw one of those things when I was in the gym at West Campus,” said Alex Diaz, a PCC student. “It popped its little head out from behind the weight rack.”
Officials say that so far, about $100,000 has been put into repairs around all the campuses.
It’s not just students that see the little creatures running around campus. Teachers, counselors and the janitors have witnessed them.
These prairie dogs that have been spotted around Pima are doing more than looking cute and burrowing holes around campus. They have made their homes in the walls of every campus around Tucson. As is their ilk, they chew on the wires in the walls and cause shortages.
As a result, every campus except Northwest has experienced multiple blackouts. The student handbook states: “In case of a blackout, teachers are required to cancel class if the class has not started” or “end the class if it is in session.”
Students have complained about computers on the campuses because they have been shutting off when students are using them.
“It is really frustrating, because I really love school and studying,” student-athlete Megan Flores said. “I study more than I drink water, and I drink a lot of water.”
Many teachers and janitors took notice of the lifespan of the lights inside and outside the classrooms.
“All the lights around campus have been burning out quicker than their said lifespan, and I knew something was up when I saw those things in the Pima buildings,” said Pat Ray, a janitor for Pima.
“There’s making a profit and there’s debt,” Chancellor Lee Lambert said. “We are in our debt’s debt, we just can’t afford all these repairs around all the campuses.”