In response to a report aired last week by a local news channel, USC officials have denied that there is a bed bug problem in campus housing.
The report, broadcast by KTLA, accused USC of having bed bugs in student housing and not educating students enough about the issue.
Several students were interviewed and described their personal issues with bed bugs.
In the story, Michelle Huynh, a junior majoring in gerontology, said the bugs “get hungry every night and I am their feast.”
USC Media Relations released a statement in response, pointing out what it said were several inconsistencies in the news report and saying that none of the interviewed students are currently living in university housing.
“The university has no documented reports from them during that time of a bed bug issue,” the statement said about students who were interviewed in the report.
The response also mentioned that USC “publicly provide[s] information to students on integrated pest management and on bed bugs specifically.”
This information is available on the USC Housing website, which states “USC Housing doesn’t have a pest problem.”
Keenan Cheung, the director of USC Housing, denied that bed bugs are a significant problem in campus housing.
“We have only had 11 incidences in the past 12 months,” Cheung said.
Bedbugs are nocturnal animals that feed on human blood and can cause rashes. Outbreaks of bed bugs have been reported at schools throughout the country in recent months, such as at the University of North Texas.
Dr. Lawrence Neinstein, executive director of the University Park Health Center, said the campus is not seeing cases of bed bugs and that though the pests are an inconvenience, they don’t spread disease.
“Bed bugs are not fun, but they don’t seem to communicate serious diseases,” Neinstein said.
Cheung said USC Housing takes measures to prevent bed bugs on campus.
“USC Housing conducts a triannual inspection utilizing specially trained certified canines to check all of our apartments and residence halls [and] thoroughly clean all our facilities over summer break,” Cheung said.
If bed bugs are discovered, USC employs licensed pest management companies to eradicate the insects.
Huynh, who does not live in campus housing, told the Daily Trojan that she wants the university to be more proactive in helping students living off-campus deal with bed bugs.
“I would love the university to present the students with cheaper packages for bed bug control because the treatments get really costly,” Huynh said. “They should really back the students up when we’re dealing with private [landlords]. We’re always being taken advantage of.”
When contacted, USC Media Relations said the university had nothing more to say on the issue.