A fungus among us: mold now considered urgent by housing

Emma Daniel 

News Editor

The presence of mold in university housing is now considered to be an “urgent” work order, according to Herbert Reeves, the dean of student services.

“When you see mold, we’re going to treat it as an urgent request,” Reeves said. “If you’ve got a vent and you look up there and see what seems to be the beginning of mold, little black spots or whatever, we need to know about it then. 

“We don’t need to wait until it’s grown all around it and coming down the wall.”

Resident assistants were trained on how to handle a resident alerting them of mold. 

“Housing and the Physical Plant told us during RA training to put all work orders relating to mold as urgent,” said one resident assistant in Trojan Village. “Our residents didn’t complain about any mold issues so far, so I can assume that mold was taken seriously by housing.”

After last year’s issues with mold in Newman Center 200, Trojan Village and some fraternity houses, Physical Plant has stepped up in its handling of the situation, assessing the cause of the mold to be a conflict of hot and cold air. 

Reeves said the newer buildings are more susceptible to mold due to the outside air intake units they have. 

“Part of the issue, especially with Newman, is the outside air unit on one of the buildings was not running,” Reeves said. “It was drawing hot air in against the cold air from the air conditioners, which forms condensation, thus begins to form mold.

“(Physical Plant) has gone through those outside air units. They corrected a number of problems we had.”

Physical Plant has dealt with a few cases of mold over the summer, and an outside company came in to run tests on the air quality and take samples. They used a biocide chemical that helps with cleaning and kills the mold. 

Fortunately, the mold in some of the dorms is not toxic black mold. 

Reeves stressed the necessity of alerting housing if mold is seen in any of the dorms. 

“(Residents) are in there day in and day out; we’re not in there every day,” he said.  “The RAs do room inspections, but that’s once a month. 

“If (residents) will let us know immediately, it will be responded to immediately.”

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