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Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Student relocates after Marsh dorm contaminated with mold

By Kayla Southwood

Marsh Hall has often been a target for complaints among students, as the question of dust and mold circulating the dormitory has become a growing concern among the residents.

These rumored contaminants were recently confirmed when Marsh resident Juliette Maxfield ‘26 found mold growing on the bottom of her college-issued mattress.

“I had been very sick since I first moved in,” said Maxfield, “and I ended up developing mononucleosis and then bronchitis.”

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After a while, she asked Residence Life to conduct a mold test, and although she never received the results, she did receive an email asking her to relocate to a different dorm. That’s when the real shock came.

“I started moving out all my stuff, and when I took my sheets off I noticed mold all over my mattress,” Maxfield said.

Maxfield went on to say she knew of other Marsh residents discovering mold in their vents and air conditioning units, and while Maxfield is grateful to have moved out, other residents have not been granted the same privilege.

Ellie Sawscki ‘24 complained of feeling constantly tired and sick since she moved into Marsh.

“When I first moved in, my allergies really flared up,” Sawscki said. “I’ve been put on four different long-term medications, and periodically placed on antibiotics.”

Sawscki went on to say that she deals with coughing fits so extreme they cause her to throw up, and her roommate also has struggled with her health.

Sawscki also requested for a mold and air quality test to be conducted,
and Wofford eventually tested the air quality, concluding that no un-
usual results were found.

José Ruiz Torrez ‘26, another Marsh resident, also has had reason to believe the dorm has mold in it.

“Every time I leave the room, I feel better, and when I enter the room, I just start coughing so much; it hurts to breathe in there,” Torrez said.

The college said a correlation seems unlikely.

“(Since its renovations) Wofford has seen a dramatic decrease in the concerns raised in Marsh Hall,” said J. Allen Lollis, assistant dean of students. “There is no evidence to indicate that Marsh Hall causes health issues.”

Lollis added that Marsh is the largest residence hall, has the newest HVAC system, as previously reported and has been given a significant refurbishment with updated bathrooms, new lounges and updated rooms.

Regardless of sickness, Marsh has a reputation for being the least-appealing of all the freshman dormitories; this leads some to wonder if such a reputation perpetuates unclean behaviors among the residents.

Torrez described seeing the gender neutral bathroom on the fourth floor with vomit in the toilet, blood on the mirror, sink and toilet seat and semen in the shower. Many residents also complain of a lack of drainage
among the bathrooms.

A resident assistant on the second floor of Marsh said that the quality of air is uniform among all the halls, and it’s very common for sickness to travel from dorm to dorm.

Elikem Asimenu ‘24, another RA in Marsh Hall, believes that the “Marsh Plague” is likely not the building’s fault.

“Marsh residents are the most active residents on campus, so as the residents explore other parts of campus, they catch illnesses, and bring it back to Marsh where it then spreads,” Asimenu said.

Asimenu also added that the building’s air filters could benefit from regular changing.

Catie Simpson ‘26 originally lived in Marsh Hall, and after dealing with a sore throat, bad cough and congested nose for two weeks, she visited the Wellness Center.

“(The employee) came in and asked me what my symptoms were, what year I was and where I was living,” Simpson recalled. “When I told her Marsh, she laughed and said ‘oh you have Marsh Plague.’”

“Marsh Hall is typically where many first-year students live on campus and many colleges, including Wofford, usually experience first-year students being sicker at a higher rate than the rest of the campus community,” said Lisa Lefebvre, director of employee wellness and health services.

Lefebvre advised students to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, exercise, wash hands and keep living spaces clean to prevent illness.

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