Mold found in suites frustrates students

By Josh Wolmer & Samantha Vega-Torres1851 backers

Students have been disappointed to find mold in their campus dormitories and frustrated at what they claim is the university’s late response to their health issues and living conditions. Mold is primarily isolated from suite-style buildings: Forest, Bragdon, and Butterworth. Concerns about mold were first raised in September, according to a written account from young graphic designer Sabrina Leblanc, with action not being taken until November.

According to the 2021-2022 Student Handbook, under Residential Facilities, “Residential buildings and student rooms are regularly inspected by Residential Life staff members to ensure the health and safety of all residents in the community. . Particular attention is paid to the physical condition and the cleanliness of the rooms… ”

Residential Life Director Scott Lamphere of the student handbook statement said: “All rooms and buildings are ready to be occupied in August. Residential and facilities staff inspect all rooms during the week before students move in in the fall. Lamphere also said, “Our residential life staff also perform room health and safety inspections at the start of winter break and again at the start of spring break.”

However, when the students noticed the presence of a fungus growing in various places in their suites, they began to wonder if this was the case. Two students who faced mold issues at the start of this semester were Junior Fashion Design Major Sophia Mark at Butterworth Hall and Junior Sports Communication Major and Business Minor Sam Roberts at Bragdon Hall.

Mark’s roommate found traces of mold on his mattress before moving in, and then on his roommate’s backpack in October. When they asked for their room to be checked further, Mark and his roommate hit a wall. “At first they didn’t do anything, but then my father contacted the parents’ association and a group of people came into the room and they assured us there was no mold,” said Mark said.

“… They should respond the first time a student has a health and bedroom complaint. This should be their top priority, ”Mark said when asked about the mold investigation and removal from his dorm.

Responding to student grievances over the late responses, Lamphere said, “We want to engage students directly first and foremost, but if the concerns are from a parent or the parents request follow-up, we are also prompt. to answer “.

Roberts alleges that the mold found in his bedroom caused various health problems. “For me personally, I battled the disease for the first three weeks until my parents helped me deep clean the room. I felt like my lungs were blocked making it difficult to breathe clearly, I had constant headaches, sniffles and occasionally had eye irritation and itching ”, Roberts said.

On November 15, the Office of Facilities and Sustainability Management (FSM) received the results of air quality tests from an environmental hygienist hired by SERVPRO. “There were 26 samples taken, and there were only three [samples] who came back with high levels of spores in the air, ”said Diane Parker, associate vice president of administration and operations.

“Mold is a natural organism that grows everywhere. It’s impossible to prevent it from entering, so mold exists in all the air we breathe all the time… But there was nothing high enough to cause the alarm, ”Parker said about of the other 23 samples.

The office hopes students can return to their original suites after another air quality test after a deep cleaning of the rooms and mold removal. Communications Director Ian Meropol said: “All these students have been contacted [November 16] and work with Residential Life.

LeBlanc, who originally reported the mold in September, and his roommates moved out of Forest Hall on November 16, due to the high amount of mold spores found in their suite. LeBlanc first spoke about mold on September 24.

Despite receiving an email from Residential Life on October 19 stating that someone would be visiting their room to inspect and assess the mold, LeBlanc and his roommates say no one has come. “If they had entered, they did not follow University protocol of leaving an interview note on the door to alert the students that they had in fact been in the room,” LeBlanc wrote in an account of events compiled by her and her roommates. .

When the facilities assessed their room with outside vendors on November 2, LeBlanc wrote, “There was no communication… they were vague about the work they were doing. “

Parker, Meropol and Peter Hayes, director of administration and operations, all stressed that Lasell will do his best to help contain the issues going forward and that all existing cases will be addressed within the next two weeks.

“We have and continue to investigate and follow up on all mold complaints and inquiries on our campus…” Meropol said in response to student concerns.

“[The safety and health of students] is the number one priority and it was before COVID-19 and even more so with COVID-19, and it will remain so after COVID-19, ”said Meropol.

On December 1, President Alexander sent an email to the community with the subject line “Response to mold in university halls of residence”. In this, he said, “Throughout the fall semester, we investigated every mold report we received. In some cases, our inspection indicated that what the students observed was a buildup of dirt, dust, or wood that had started to rot. These judgments do not mean that there was an absence of mold, because mold is everywhere. It just means that there was no visible evidence of excessive mold growth. In other cases there was visible evidence of mold and facilities and sustainability management (FSM) staff were dispatched to clean up these areas. “

If there is an issue that needs to be investigated, students should submit an academic work order request through the MyLasell website in the University Resources section.


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