Alumna removes university from will after beaver killings

By Gus Bode

An SIUC alumna is making the university pay for its treatment of beavers.

Lorie Allen, a retired workforce education adviser, said she took the university out of her will after she witnessed a wildlife control agency trapping a group of beavers at Campus Lake in December.

The Physical Plant hired Easton’s Wildlife and Mole Control out of Murphysboro to rid the lake of the rodents after it received a complaint about them destroying vegetation.


Allen said she expected to donate approximately $200,000 to the university, which would be distributed as history and music department scholarships. She said the money would now be donated to the University of Washington, where her husband attended college.

Allen said she had plenty of reasons to donate to SIUC after graduating from the university in the 1970s and working as an adviser for 22 years until 2005.

But the 53-year-old Carbondale resident said she did not approve of an SIUC police officer shooting a deer he claimed attacked him in June 2006, and the beaver incident was the last straw.

She said she routinely walks on the paths around Campus Lake for exercise in the early mornings and observed the beavers near their lodge for about two years before they were trapped Dec. 26.

“The day before Christmas, I saw them there beside the lake,” she said. “Two days later, they’re murdered.”

Allen said the university often saves its controversial actions for times when fewer students and faculty are on campus, such as winter break.

Phil Gatton, director of the Physical Plant, said the grounds department notified the wildlife control agency immediately after it received a complaint about the beavers. He said the trapper might have chosen to trap on Dec. 26 for several reasons, including safety.


“I would say probably the people that are doing those operations feel more comfortable not having somebody there watching over them,” he said.

Gatton said the beavers were causing significant damage to the vegetation around the shoreline and the grounds crew simply followed protocol by calling the trapper.

“I’m sure people would like to think that there was a bigger picture here,” he said. “It was really just a response to the amount of damage we were seeing around the lake – the number of trees that were cut down.”

SIU President Glenn Poshard said the university has taken a careful look at its wildlife policies recently, especially after the deer attacks that occurred the past two summers.

He said some in the campus community have advocated for more wildlife control, such as controlled deer hunts, and others have spoken vehemently against such actions.

“No matter what you do with respect to animal control, there is going to be somebody upset about it,” he said.

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