Despite measures adopted last fall after an outbreak of mold in dormitories across campus, mold has become an increasing problem in Village A apartments, leaving students frustrated by the housing conditions and concerned about their health and safety.

According to Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey, six of the 20 complaints that students have submitted about mold in the past three weeks have been about Village A. Last fall’s infestation primarily concerned Henle Village.

Danny Khanin (SFS ’16) was forced to move out of his Village A apartment due to health problems that he believed were caused by mold.

“I just kept getting sick so I didn’t know if it was from living there or not,” Khanin, a varsity tennis player, said. “Whenever I would leave I would feel much better and it started affecting my tennis and my schoolwork. I was able to move out and I’ve felt better since.”

Morey said that the university still is unsure of what is causing the current mold problems in Village A apartments.

“At this point we cannot attribute any circumstance that would result in Village A receiving approximately one quarter of the requests,” Morey wrote in an email. “However, as most of the work orders are related minor mold/mildew in bathrooms, we are inspecting the ventilations systems in the bathroom stacks at Village A, as this could be a potential opportunity to improve.”

Morey said that the highest volume of orders are related minor mold/mildew in bathrooms, we are inspecting the ventilations systems in the bathroom stacks at Village A, as this could be a potential opportunity to improve.”

Morey said that the highest volume of mold work orders came during move-in due to the high humidity at the time.

“During move-in we generally receive more work orders concerning mold,” Morey wrote. “This is expected as students include mold requests on the work order as part of other requirements that they need resolved as they first move into the units. Also the environmental conditions in the summer, high humidity days, are the optimal conditions for mold growth.”

Although Morey did not have data from the past few years because of the creation of a new work order system, he said that mold has become less severe on campus over time due to preventative measures.

“It appears we have experienced a similar amount of work orders relating to mold year over year, but we have seen a significant reduction in ‘serious’ cases of mold year over year,” Morey wrote. “We believe the operational improvements related to inspections and the physical improvements, installation of de-humidifiers are the reason for this improvement.”

The Office of Facilities Management has attempted to alleviate some of the mold problems by placing dehumidifiers in some apartments that remove gallons of moisture from the air per day .

“There’s a dehumidifier in our living room and it just obviously takes out some of the moisture in the air and I think that’s been a lot better,” Devon Wood (MSB ’16), a Village A resident, said. “It’s not really that bad anymore, except for the bathroom, but I think that’s typical. I mean it just requires probably more upkeep than a normal apartment.”

Khanin did acknowledge that the university took the mold seriously, providing him compensation for the issue.

“I think they took it seriously,” Khanin said. “They came in and cleaned it and we actually just got an email a couple weeks ago that they were refunding us a couple hundred dollars for the inconveniences, which was nice.”

Khanin, who shifted to an empty spot in a friend’s Nevils, said that his experience with mold incentivizes off-campus housing.

“I just think that the way they deal with problems in residences just takes too long especially with the amount of money they charge for them,” Khanin said. “If you ask any other landlord in an apartment off campus everything is resolved much quicker, everything’s in better condition, for the same price if not cheaper.”

Gus Campbell (SFS ’16), another Village A resident, said that the university took too long to respond to his work order, and he and his roommates had to clean the mold on their own.

“We actually did call and complain at the beginning of the year and they didn’t show up for a month and a half, so we cleaned it in the meantime,” Campbell said. “We pay too much to have to deal with this.”

Kayleigh Hauri (COL ’16) was disillusioned by the work order process, so decided to clean the mold herself as well.

“We didn’t talk to facilities partially because we put in some other complaints earlier this year and they marked them as completed but hadn’t actually come to our house,” Hauri said. “So we were worried about it being a health issue so we thought it would be faster if we dealt with it on our own.”

Concerns about mold in Village A extend to sophomores thinking about housing for next year.

“I would find it very unappealing to live in a place with persisting mold issues,” Sinead Schenk (COL ’17) said. “The university should really take responsibility to ensure that students live in sanitary conditions.”

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