Thomas rats, Trinicats and now Storch raccoons

Trinity’s fauna family continues growing, both intentionally and unintentionally

Over the past few years, furry friends ranging from rats, possums to even foxes have made their marks by making special appearances on Trinity’s campus. Now, the newest members to join the community of Trinity’s animals are raccoons. On the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 7, in Storch 113, a raccoon was seen roaming around, making its way into classrooms and damaging facilities.

This incident occurred during the middle of the sociology of law class taught by Sarah Beth Kaufman, sociologist and critical criminologist. Kaufman shared that all was quiet until one of her students sitting near the door jumped up and pointed in the direction of the hallway.

“Dr. Kaufman, there’s a raccoon,” the student said.

The student told Kaufman that the raccoon had made its way to the room next door. Kaufman kindly asked the student to shut the door as she rushed downstairs to tell Irma DeLeon, academic office manager for the department of sociology and anthropology. DeLeon had a suspicion that something had been going around the building all week. She had been cleaning up messy chip bags from the trash can each morning, until the raccoon finally made its public appearance.

Kaufman shared that Amanda Hernandez, visiting professor of sociology, already suspected a raccoon was in the building, considering a ripped screen in one of the classrooms and messes around the building.

“​​When I went back upstairs to look to see if it was still in room 112, I couldn’t see it through the window. The student said it was about the size of a small cat. The raccoon was caught in a trap the next day, and when I went back to the classroom the day after that, I had to clean paw prints off the whiteboard. I never saw it and have no idea where it came from. Some people think there are more in the building, but there’s no sign of others so far,” Kaufman said.

Erin Nguyen, sophomore and international studies double-major was there for the aftermath and felt startled even hearing about the occurrence. Ngyuen had class right after the raccoon had invaded, and, alongside fellow students, was instructed not to go into the classroom in order to keep the raccoon detained.

“People’s reactions seemed to be divided. Some felt bad for the raccoon and some people were more grossed out. I definitely would have been shaken up. That’s crazy that a raccoon just appeared like that,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen shared that another professor had mentioned how his trash was always a torn-apart mess. This professor had suspicions that there were animals roaming around in Storch, maybe even before the raccoon came through the ceiling.

“A lot of people in the class, from what I heard, were on edge because of all the noises they heard and also the scratches in the ceiling freaked them out,” Nguyen said.

Lizo McNeely, senior neuroscience major, was another student who was supposed to have a class in the room where the raccoon was being contained. McNeely shared that Jennifer Mathews, sociology and anthropology department chair, was also aided with trying to navigate the situation at hand. McNeely shared that many students were waiting and confused on what was going to happen next, considering this was a very random occurrence.