Students living in dormitories such as Woody-Cauthen, Dunglison, Courtenay and Fitzhugh experienced disruption to their living conditions after discovering mold deposits in their rooms. Affected students report symptoms associated with mold exposure and frustration with the University’s response.
The mold can cause several allergy-like physical health problems in people exposed to the substance, including congestion, sneezing, coughing, or sore throat.
University spokeswoman Bethanie Glover, Housing and Residence Life, responds to new reports of mold or mildew in dormitories. Mold investigations are carried out by HRL, Facilities Management and Environmental Health and Safety.
Glover said if mold is found during an investigation, it is removed so crews can determine the cause.
“In most cases where small amounts of mold are found, remediation involves changing residents’ behavior – for example, not leaving damp laundry in closets, not leaving windows open while the air conditioning is on. working. [or] do not block HVAC vents. Glover said in an email to Cavalier Daily.
Glover added that the University is not currently aware of mold-related disease trends on Grounds.
College freshman Simone Minor first noticed what she thought was dust on the floor of her Cauthen dorm after her air conditioner broke, causing the humidity to rise . Once his resident advisor identified the substance as mold instead of dust, Minor contacted facilities management and environmental health and safety about the problem. Even after facilities management cleaned the room, Minor said she and her roommate kept finding more mold.
While Minor expressed appreciation for the housekeeping workers who helped out, she said she would have liked a more comprehensive response to the mold deposits, noting that housekeeping was just cleaning the room without looking for any damage. other areas affected by mold.
“I think if everything had been looked at from a comprehensive perspective, the issue could have been resolved much sooner and we wouldn’t necessarily have had to make so many complaints,” Minor said.
Minor said she had some symptoms associated with mold exposure, including itchy throat and sinus congestion. These reactions became so severe that Minor chose to stay with a friend rather than in his room.
“I think it’s really difficult because allergy symptoms, flu symptoms and a lot of these things are very similar. [to symptoms of mold exposure].” said Miner. “Luckily it went away when I pulled out of the room, which made it clear to me that the room was causing me more problems.”
Shortly after moving into his dorm in Cauthen, Austin Tran, a freshman in engineering school, began experiencing intense chest pains. Tran’s symptoms worsened to the point of being hospitalized, where he tested negative for COVID-19, influenza and heart complications.
A few days later, his RA informed him that there was a mold problem in Cauthen and that his room had probably been infected. Like Minor, the maintenance came after Tran filed an official maintenance order, but didn’t report how deep or deep they were cleaned.
Tran said he continues to worry about the state of his living space, especially given the constant construction issues he has seen in Cauthen.
“I was told that you’re just going to pay this fee, and you’re just going to find a place to sleep,” Tran said, “It’s the bare minimum…I’m paying the same [housing cost] like many other people, and in terms of quality, it doesn’t really look like it.
College freshman Luka Ivanovic echoed Tran’s frustration. Ivanovic’s dorm, along with many others in Courtenay, has recently suffered from mold.
“Some people [mold] was in their AC units, some people were on or under the mattress,” Ivanovic said. “Some were inside doors, drawers and cabinets…some were pretty harsh.”
Ivanovic, still struggling with undiagnosed breathing issues, expressed disappointment with HRL’s response to the problem as well as general housing disparities on the pitch.
“We want someone to come and explain to us how it all happened, how it spread, how it got to this point and what exactly they are going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. more,” Ivanovic said. “This is quite unacceptable, given that the amount we pay is the same as every first two years for room and board.”
An unnamed Resident Advisor who works in an affected dormitory said he felt frustrated with HRL’s response to the mould. The RA, who experienced severe symptoms consistent with mold exposure, said he felt ignored.
“I shouldn’t have to do HRL work because they can’t keep up,” the resident adviser said. “Even after being sick and skipping studies, I still have to take time off from classes to deal with HRL issues. Dealing with mold is not my job description.