Ohio University’s $1.2 Million Bat Problem

Ohio’s brown bats are shaking off their winter hibernation and so are Ohio University’s big spenders who responded to a bat “infestation” at the university president’s residence with a proposal to buy a $1.2 million replacement home.

In February, after a single bat invaded the 116-year old campus residence of President Roderick J. McDavis and his wife, the university moved the family to a gated development of million-dollar homes three miles off campus. In addition, the administration spent $75,000 to furnish the home that it currently rents for $4,318 per month.

Bat RallyAt a time when students and their families are sinking in education debt and tuition and fees are steadily climbing, “They’re moving our president to an extremely luxurious location and asking us to foot the bill,” OU senior and protest organizer Ryan Taylor told the crowd of some 400 students, professors and employees who showed up for the “Bat Rally”.

According to Dave Logan, president of AFSCME Local 1699 which represents 630 service, technical, and maintenance workers at the university, finding a bat in a home or garage is common around Southeast Ohio in the spring and summer.  “We’ve removed maybe a dozen bats from the residence over the last 10 years, so it’s hardly an out of control infestation. And while the administration is spending $1.2 million on an off-campus mansion for the President, we have 73 members who are ‘off-campus’ because they’re laid off,” Logan said.  “The university also has something like $400 million in ‘deferred maintenance’ on residence halls, classrooms, and university systems. That is how the administration has dealt with OU’s finances,” he said.

Union members are in the final year of a three-year contract and will be going to the bargaining table with the administration later this year.

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