Tower Hall, one of San Jose State University’s oldest buildings, was stripped of its ivy in the two weeks leading up to the new semester.
The decision to remove the ivy from the building came after concerns regarding a rat infestation brought on by the plants.
“This has nothing to do with aesthetics,” Charlie Faas, vice president of administration and finance, said. “This is really a mitigation for taking care of some of the pest problems we continue to have.”
Rats and mice used the ivy attached to the buildings as a sleeping area, which also gave them access into buildings, windows and rooflines.
Rodents entered classrooms and offices, leaving droppings behind and raising health concerns.
In addition to the droppings, the rodents caused damages to buildings by creating and worsening cracks in the wall. Faas said the damages to Tower Hall were particularly worrisome, as the building is over 100 years old.
Over the course of four days, crews worked on Tower Hall and Morris Dailey Auditorium, pulling the ivy off the sides of the buildings and scraping off the remains.
In addition to Tower Hall and Morris Dailey Auditorium, the ivy that lined Clark Hall and Dwight Bentel Hall was also removed.
Faas emphasized that the removal of ivy was strictly due to the rodent problem and said Tower Hall looked beautiful with or without the ivy.
However, some people on campus disagreed.
“Personally, I like a little ivy on [Tower Hall] myself,” media producer for information technology Keith Sanders said. “The ivy gives it a little bit of an organic look to it, maybe even makes it look a little Ivy League,” Sanders said jokingly.
According to the university’s website, Tower Hall, built in 1910, is SJSU’s centerpiece.
“It’s certainly iconic, everyone looks for Tower Hall,” Sanders said. “That’s probably by far our biggest logo and we’d like to keep it without rats, but we also like to keep it a little bit nicer. In my opinion, that’s with a little touch of ivy.”
While Sanders said the ivy on Tower Hall contributed to its iconic look, economics senior Carlos Amaya believes otherwise.
“The logo of San Jose State University tends to be the tower and even that isn’t covered in ivy,” Amaya said, referring to the university’s seal which features Tower Hall.
Amaya said that the original form of the building does not include the ivy, and that the plants do not add to the overall aesthetic appeal.
Aside from the building’s look, Amaya said he was glad to see the ivy removed from the building because of the rodent problem.
He said he often saw mice climbing up Tower Hall’s walls late at night.
Gardening crews removed the last of the ivy off Tower Hall on Friday, exposing more of the building to the campus.
Despite the removal of the ivy, Sanders said he was not overly saddened by it because it would grow back.
Crews worked to remove as much of the ivy’s roots without damaging the surrounding plants, but like weeds, they will grow back.
Faas said that while the ivy would grow back, the cost to constantly hire exterminators is greater than the cost to keep the buildings free of the ivy.