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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Mold, Gold, and Black

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Complaints about recurring mold issues in dorms

One student complains that they have been dealing with mold in their dorm since freshman year. They recall being sick throughout their first year while living in Marsh Hall, and after Wofford did not offer any assistance in resolving the issue, the students’ parents felt it necessary to hire a company to clean the dorm room to prevent this issue. Unfortunately, the mold only returned.  

Now a junior, this student says that they walked into their room in Wightman on move-in day to find mold growing around and in the shower, on the window seals and on the ceiling.  

They said, “I wipe down my air vent down at least twice a week. I feel like I am cleaning up after Wofford when this shouldn’t be an issue.” 

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The only response this student has received from the college is through its maintenance staff, who have told the student that the mold could not be dealt with, and that it was a part of living in the south.  

The student said, “Wofford is opening their eyes about it, but it is right in front of them and I kinda think that they are just ignoring it. If you look at the wall you can see the mold.” 

Some of the bathrooms within the residence halls on campus are not equipped with proper ventilation in the bathrooms, Wightman Hall being one of them. This lack of ventilation is what this student pins as one of the causes of the mold issues that they have experienced.

To this, Wofford responded, “High humidity in conjunction with the presence of skin cells, hair and dirt that is sloughed off during showering leads to the growth of mold/mildew and bacteria if regular cleaning is not performed.” 

A student that lives in the Senior Village says that humidity has been a problem since they moved in, as well as congestion, which made them suspect mold.  

They said, “We notified maintenance about the humidity problem the day we moved in; we notified Res. Life about the humidity problem a few days after when it wasn’t fixed. It seemed like no one was listening.”  Finally, maintenance provided the apartment with a dehumidifier. Eventually, they returned to run air quality tests but would not reveal the results. 

 “We got lucky once,” says the student, “one of the men that worked for an outside company told us that even with the dehumidifier running 24/7, and us having to empty it every 8 hours, the humidity was still at a level in which mold was likely to grow.”  

The apartment was told by maintenance that the air quality tests did not show anything.  

“That is very hard to believe,” the student said, “considering that they came and did some “tests”, then brought in a cleaning crew to clean our vents, doors, and wood furniture.”  

“It is becoming pretty common for us to come back to our apartment to people moving our furniture, doing tests, and talking in hushed voices, and still not a single person will give us any indication as to what they are doing and what is wrong with our apartment.” 

Bigger released an email on Oct. 24 which said, “While limited levels of mold are found in all human environments, results of the tests found no abnormal readings that would indicate a cause for concern. What they did find, however, are results that indicate the need for residents to make some changes in the location of furniture, including removing items that block or impede air flow from vents, and to maintain specific housekeeping responsibilities.” 

Over the summer, each residence hall is prepared for its next group of residents.  

The email included the following statement: “Student residences are deep-cleaned in the summer, including sanitation of all surfaces.”  

As to the completion of these tasks, the email stated that it is done by the Wofford Facilities staff, or at least under the supervision of the Facilities Staff.  

However, one student explained that a football player told them that over the summer they had been given the job of painting to make money during the time they were not practicing. The student says that this friend recounted discovering mold above a shower in the senior village and painting over it rather than cleaning it first.  

A student living in Carlisle said, “While we are building another building on campus, Carlisle struggles with poor ventilation; air conditioning systems leak to the room below causing mildew; bathrooms have poor ventilation so mold and mildew in the shower grows very quickly. At one point, one of the ceiling tiles were leaking so bad that it went to tiles on the floor to the point where they raised and flooded.” For many students, the issues that they are experiencing with mold stretch beyond a normal cleaning.  

Dean Bigger’s email concerning the matter stated, “Students are responsible for personal living space housekeeping and for cleaning their own bathrooms in Carlisle, Wightman and Lesesne Halls as well as all Village apartments.”  

Along with this came tips about how to avoid the growth of mold in any given dorm.  

Resident Assistant Andrew Haley ‘21, said, “It is no surprise that we find issues with mold in dorms. It is most likely related to the college’s inability to recognize the need for a well-funded Residence Life department.”  

One student experiencing mold in their dorm said, “The best solution right now is 100% transparency. We understand that it is not easy to manage housing for a campus of students, but the whispers and unwillingness to be honest with us is not acceptable.” 

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