Breaking News: Population control of squirrels to cease after public outcry

Kiara Zabala, Outreach and Recruitment

Picture taken by Jocelynn Landon.

California State University, Bakersfield Facilities has decided to hold off on any squirrel management procedures until further notice.  

Business and Administrative Services sent out a memorandum in an email to the CSUB community on March 21, at 8:48 a.m. This memorandum was in response to the discussion on campus about Facilities’ approach to managing the burrowing-rodent population. 

“At California State University, Bakersfield, we take our ecosystem very seriously. In recent days, concerns have been raised about the system we use to control burrowing-rodents on campus. Out of respect for the voices we have heard, we are pausing our efforts to control the ground-squirrel population,” wrote Thom Davis, vice president and chief financial officer. 

Davis also wrote in the memorandum that over the next few weeks, CSUB will host sessions to listen to any concerns and further questions from the campus community. More information about the sessions will become available within the next coming days. The goal of these sessions is to come to a conclusion that makes all members of the campus community satisfied. 

This decision to pause burrowing-rodent population control comes just a few days after an Associated Students Inc. meeting where the main topic of discussion was the fumigation carried out by Facilities. 

During the ASI meeting on March 17, students and faculty emphasized that they would not have had such a big problem with how Facilities is choosing to approach maintenance towards the ground squirrel population if they had been transparent with the CSUB community about their actions from the start.   

Instead of being informed by email, information about the actions of Facilities was spread through eyewitness reports.  

Jennifer Self, senior director of Strategic Communications and Public Information Officer, and Joe Hedges, associate vice president of Capital Planning & Design and Facilities Management Services, attended the meeting on behalf of Facilities as a way to facilitate a conversation between ASI and Facilities.  

Self and Hedges both answered questions following a presentation that they gave, stating that the ground squirrels’ burrows have causes injuries to different members of the campus. The squirrels also have damaged athletic fields, irrigation systems and communication lines, further affecting the spaces that can be used on campus.  

Students and faculty shared that they did not believe that the usage of the Pressurized Exhaust Rodent Controller (PERC) with 2.5% Carbon Monoxide was necessary, and called for a more humane way to control the squirrel population. 

 Additionally, community members expressed that they did not believe that Facilities was being fully truthful and transparent about where the fumigation attempts occurred, causing these community members to worry about the endangered kit foxes that also reside in burrows on campus. 

The concerns from the campus community arose due to an email thread started by the Campus Sustainability Committee on March 2 after eyewitnesses first spotted Facilities’ fumigation. 

Lucas K. Hall, assistant professor of biology, discussed how population management of the squirrel population on campus can upset the balance of the urban ecosystem of CSUB. A reduction of ground squirrels as prey for kit foxes can affect the food supply for the kit foxes, potentially harming the fragile ecosystem, said Hall. 

The petition “Protection of the Endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox and their Prey at CSU Bakersfield” started by ASI Director of Sustainability, Sara Alame, has circulated online on and has received nearly 1000 signatures within four days. 

Campus community discusses squirrel population control methods during ASI meeting

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