Campus Dorms Fouled By Fungus

Mold sightings have caused concerns in certain residence halls, as students moved in this semester to find spotty discoloration on walls, ceilings and other surfaces.

Mold has been confirmed in two of the newer residence halls on campus: Esopus (opened in the fall of 2001) and Lenape (opened in August 2004). The mold began to form at some point between the end of student orientation and move-in day, according to John Shupe, assistant vice president of facilities management.

Mold grows where moisture is present. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website recommends cleaning these areas in order to fix these problems immediately, since “if you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present.”

Students have reported their concerns with potential health risks that could be caused by mold, particularly to people with certain allergies.

“[Multiple students] were saying that it was pretty nasty, and that they needed to clean it up,” said third-year English education major Natalie Fermanian. “Honestly, it’s a health risk, and there’s this one girl on my floor [who is] super allergic to certain things.”

Fermanian said that when she visited other residents on the third floor, she noticed that they had mold in their rooms, but they did not seem to recognize what it was, nor mind its presence. She also noted that the computer lab on the first, second and third floors appear to have mold.

“In the lounges, I guess it’s not really a health risk, but I [sleep in the] top bunk, so I know if there was mold on the ceiling, it would be right above my head,” Fermanian said. “It’s gross, but it’s not to the point where it’s making me want to leave.”

People who are excessively exposed to mold can experience several symptoms including “nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation.” Those with pre-existing conditions, including immunity-compromised issues and chronic lung illnesses, may develop more serious infections when exposed to mold, according to the CDC’s website.

The quantity of mold spores discovered on campus is reportedly not enough to affect a healthy individual, according to Mike Malloy, the director of environmental health and safety.

“We have responded as quickly as possible to rectify these issues,” said Schupe.“ There is a design and construction project underway to evaluate the existing building systems and to rectify current problems,” Shupe said.

Residence life has also received complaints regarding this situation, and the Residence Hall Student Association (RHSA) met to address students’ concerns.

“I saw it. It’s all over the building. When people bring it to [residence life’s] attention, they’ve been pretty good about getting it out of people’s rooms,” said third-year communication disorders major, Chrissy Berino, who also serves as hall government president of Lenape Hall. “The entire hall government is aware of it. We’ve all been told about it. A lot of residents were bringing up concerns to me about it, so we were voicing those concerns at RHSA meetings.”

However, not all students are content with how this matter has been handled so far.

“At first, I was absolutely disgusted and I was shocked to see how bad the problem actually was,” said first-year student and Lenape Hall resident Dominique Gioia.

 “It felt like when we would talk to residence life, we would be talked down to. It seems like mold is a super widespread problem on campus,” Gioia said. “They suggested to move us somewhere else on campus, because they said that it might come back after they cleaned it, but if you cleaned the mold correctly and fixed the conditions, moving us out shouldn’t be a suggestion.” 

Gioia claims to have spotted mold in Humanities and the Student Union building, as well as many other residence halls on campus.  During the RHSA meeting, other locations with suspected mold were identified, including Capen, Ridgeview and Shango.

“It’s basically just people calling facilities and telling them when and where to scrub it,” Berino said. “They’re aware of it. They’re taking care of it. If you see anything, just talk to your RA or call facilities.”

About Kelsey Fredricks 53 Articles
Kelsey Fredricks is a fourth-year English: Creative Writing major with a Journalism minor. This is her fourth semester on The Oracle and the first working in the new Multimedia Editor role. Previously, she worked as a News Copy Editor, while also managing the Instagram and (still) Facebook pages. Her favorite stories to read and write include those that fall within the realm of travel, pop culture, socially and culturally important features pieces, and those surrounding the multi-talented and magical Taylor Swift.