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Mold Forces Students Out of Horan Dorms

by JOE LIGGIO, Asst. News Editor

Some Horan Hall residents have had an unwelcome guest living with them lately.

An infiltration of mold has affected a number of dorms in Horan and forced some students living in the building to temporarily relocate throughout the past two weeks. Additional students have required extensive cleaning of their rooms to combat the problem.

While some students were relocated to other spaces in the building, four students were quartered on the unused fourth floor of Chrysostom Hall, which has not had full time residents occupying it’s spaces since the past spring semester. They have since returned to their original dorms in Horan.

“Our Residence Life staff has received reports of mold from students since the start of the fall semester,” said Director of Communications Peter McHugh in an e-mail statement. “About 15 percent of Horan residencies have been affected, either within a bedroom or a bathroom.”

An e-mail from Dr. Richard Satterlee, vice president for student life, went out to students last Thursday.

“We have received several reports from students who have seen mold in Horan Hall residences, and are working with several groups on and off campus to quickly resolve the situation. We have not received any reports of health concerns related to this issue,” read the e-mail. “Resident students in Horan Hall who have been affected have been relocated to other residences while those rooms are thoroughly inspected, and any issues identified are remediated.”

The e-mail continued.

“This has been and unusually hot and wet summer and fall in New York City, and this has likely contributed to these concerns. We understand the inconvenience and disruption that this causes for members of our community.”

Word of the problem had quickly circulated around campus even before the e-mail announcement, often becoming the subject of jest. Last Friday, after members of Manhattan’s Scatterbomb improv group asked the audience for a prompt during their show, they were met with a flurry of students shouting, among other suggestions: “black mold!”

Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 1.04.36 PM.png

Mold on the ceiling of a sixth floor dorm in Horan Hall.
MARIA THOMAS / THE QUADRANGLE

Freshman David Lozipone, who lives on the fifth floor of the building, said that he and his roommates had been observing what they all believed to be mold inside their suite for some time.

“There was one spot on the ceiling initially, that I guess has been [there] since we moved in here, but we weren’t really sure if it was mold. Just recently within the last week or so we noticed– above the shower in our bathroom –spots that we thought were mold.”

Lozipone feels confident that the problem will eventually get dealt with but acknowledges that the idea of mold being present makes him a little uneasy.

“It’s something they could take care of … I wouldn’t say it makes me feel comfortable or anything like that.”

Sophomores Jordan “Juice” Greene and A.J. Moore both live on the eighth floor of Horan, and were two of the students displaced while the affected rooms were being cleaned.

“The first day we moved in we didn’t notice the mold on our blinds … at first we thought it was just dust, we didn’t really expect anything to be mold, so days later as it actually builds up, there’s actually mold on the A.C. vent,” said Greene. “There was mold on my clothes, there was mold on some of my hats, my shoes. There was mold in the bathroom, mold in the cracks of the floors, in the corners of the room, and there was also mold on the walls and the ceilings.”

Even items that were far away from the windows or hanging on his walls as decor began to collect mold.

“I had to throw away a couple of my hats, a couple of my shirts, and so did my roommate as well. I would say approximately 250 dollars [worth],” said Greene.

“It was annoying, just ‘cause mold shouldn’t really be an issue– when you think about it–  in the first place, but it is what it is,” said Moore.

Greene and Moore, both on the track and field team at MC, first told their coach about the problem before submitting a work order. As the mold continued to proliferate, their coach and team captain examined the room and advised them to sleep elsewhere.

Resident Director William Atkinson reached out to Greene on Wednesday, Sept. 26 to inform them that a new, temporary room was being prepared for them. They were able to stay with friends in Horan before they were told to move into a vacant room on the fourth floor of Chrysostom. They moved some of their things into Chrysostom and ended up staying in an available room on the second floor of Horan. They moved back to their original room after it had been cleaned on Monday, Oct. 1.

“I’m an athlete so I’m already overwhelmed enough, just by having homework and dealing with school to have to deal with mold on top of that … and then people procrastinating, I feel, here at Manhattan for a while about the mold issue … how it took forever for them to really notice,” said Greene.

Greene believes that his mother’s actions served as a catalyst for the clean up.

“The work order never came … I told [my mother] about the situation and she called the [Health Department]. My mom was the one who got them to come here,” said Greene.

Despite living within different rooms in the suite, the mold was bad enough in both rooms that Greene and Moore both began to feel ill.

“We got decently sick, and still kind of [are] from it. Like itchy throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, stuff like that,” said Moore.

“No one checked up on our health, and we’re actually kind of sick from it, each of us … I plan on getting checked out when I get home to definitely see if my health is fine,” said Greene.

Ultimately, the school is cognizant of the situation and working to solve the problem.

“Our Residence Life staff and Physical Plant staff are coordinating efforts with a private contractor specifically trained in mold remediation that is completing the cleaning and any repair work required by the process. The Health Services office is available to provide any assistance to students who have health concerns,” said McHugh.

Both Residence Life and Physical Plant did not respond directly to requests for comment.

Students that may need assistance can fill out a work order at manhattan.edu/myhousing

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