When the bedbugs moved in, Goucher College decided it was time to move out.
This week, dozens of students are leaving their temporary housing in an off-campus apartment complex because of the tiny critters that parents warn their children about each night.
The three confirmed incidents of bedbugs at Towson's Dulaney Valley Apartments - one in mid-July, the other two in September - led Goucher to seek alternative housing, said Kristen Keener, the college's director of media relations.
"The thought that you could have bedbugs is frightening," said junior Marissa Kluger. She says she was starting to have nightmares just thinking about them.
Most students are being moved to the Sheraton next door to the college, she said. Others have gone to Dulaney Crescent Apartments. And although the college encouraged everyone to leave, about 30 of the 94 Goucher students at the Dulaney Valley Apartments have decided to stay put. Those students - and their parents - agreed to sign a liability waiver so they could remain.
The school felt obligated to provide comfortable housing to its students, Keener said, even though there appeared to be no immediate threat of further bedbug problems.
"At first, I think most of us were upset, disturbed and disgruntled that we were going to have to be moved," said Kluger, who went to the Sheraton. But she said she thinks the college did the right thing.
Students had been housed at the Dulaney Valley complex, across the street from the college campus, because of a shortage in on-campus housing, Keener said. Those students were supposed to live at The Quarter, another apartment complex on Dulaney Valley Road, but a series of move-in delays led to the temporary housing at Dulaney Valley, she said.
A letter sent to faculty last week indicated that the continued move-in delay, as well as "severe management and pest control issues" at Dulaney Valley Apartments, spurred the decision to relocate immediately. Students are now slated to move into The Quarter at the beginning of next year, Keener said.
A pest-control company was immediately called after the September incidents and has certified the apartments are now pest-free, according to a statement from Lane Management LLC, which manages Dulaney Valley Apartments. To prevent future problems, a pest-control expert has inspected other occupied apartments, and will also examine every vacant one and verify that they are pest-free before residents can move in, according to the statement.
The residents of Dulaney Valley started moving out on Saturday, Keener said, and have until Monday to clear out of their old apartments.
"This has been quite an adventure," said Dan Amodeo, a senior at Goucher who is a community assistant. Amodeo moved to the Sheraton last weekend, he said.
The circumstances have helped students to bond, Amodeo said, whether they have been directly or indirectly affected.
Their new digs also come with peace of mind, Amodeo said.
"We're at the Sheraton until December. We know where we're living, and we're not worried about bedbugs anymore," Amodeo said. "We can move on."