The Mods were first erected in the 1970s as temporary housing. A little over 40 years later, they’re still here.
Some argue that it’s time to tear them down and build new, more modern student housing. Others say that they are an integral part of APU’s community and history and that they should stay. I tend to agree with the latter.
One argument for tearing them down is that they are a breeding ground for skunks and raccoons. Take a stroll through the Shire and you’re highly likely to see one scurrying around.
One RA who wishes to remain anonymous said that fleas that were in their mod for one week, which eventually led to the intervention of an exterminator.
“Fleas…I hate them,” the RA commented.
Casey Dawes, the residential director of the Mods, gave no comment on this matter per resident life policy.
However, not all mod residents have had this experience.
Senior communication studies major Stephen Jackson said it best, “I don’t think the Mods being torn down should have anything to do with raccoons, skunks or any other sort of wildlife.”
Azusa is nestled right next to the San Gabriel Mountains, which makes the entire campus the native ground to those little critters. They are not exclusive to the Shire. You can just as easily find them running through University Village and even through campus when there aren’t many people around.
When asked about the raccoon and skunk situation in the Mods, former Shire resident director Jonny Hong, who graduated APU in 2010, said, “They’re just looking for a home, like anyone else.”
Instead of looking at it as if these creatures were invading our space, we should realize that they were here first. The least we can do is co-exist peacefully. They and other creatures have become a staple in APU’s community.
If you see a lizard or a squirrel, you point it out to the nearest person and you have an instant conversation topic. When you see a raccoon or a skunk, you run away screaming together, and you establish an instant bond. Although it’s not the only form of community, it’s no wonder that the Mods are arguably the most communal living area on campus.
“A certain amount of wildlife has always been a part of APU campus culture,” said Hong about his days as a student and employee at the university.
These issues are nothing new, and they definitely shouldn’t be blamed on the Mods. If APU were to get rid of the Shire Mods, they would be losing a very valuable part the university’s history and community.
“The structure and way its set up is very conducive to the community while also giving students space to live in apartment-style housing,” said senior psychology major, Zach Douglas.
Douglas was a residential advisor in the Mods last year. When asked about the raccoons and skunks, he said that he only saw one of each when living in the Shire. I wouldn’t call that an infestation.
Senior business major, Amber Hofland said, “I never lived in the Mods, but when I would visit my friends, there always seemed to be something that was falling apart.”
Despite the fact that Hofland would not live there herself, she agreed that the Mods had their own charm. However, the raccoons and skunks were enough to keep her from hanging out too long past dark.
The best part of the Mods is their homey feel. They stand alone with porches and sliding doors that make you feel independent, but the closeness and the orientation of the Mods make you feel in community with students in the Mod right next to you. The fact that they are able to cultivate such a sense of community is enough to keep them around for at least a little while longer.
Stephen Jackson is the second generation in his family to live in the Mods. He said his favorite part about living in the Mods was being able to point out where his mom and dad lived. His great-aunt was one of the first people to live in the Mods. She pulled off the plastic wrap from the cupboards when she first moved in.
There are plenty of students and alumni that would be sad to see the Mods go. Hong said that maybe we should wait around until the Mods’ 50th anniversary and make decisions then. They were built in the 70s, so you won’t have to wait too long.