Same Mold Story
By: Amanda Boyer
“It is an internal problem. I feel like I am living in a petri dish,” Taylor Mccollough, junior and vice president of Alpha Omicron Pi said, “I have seen pictures of the mold and the samples they took and they were just awful.”
The most recent discovery of mold on the Quincy University campus has caused one group to change its plans.
“We were notified that the students put in a work request a couple weeks ago and facilities notified us that there could be an issue,” Crystal Sutter, acting dean of students, said.
Located at 815 north 20th street, the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority Chapter, or the ΑΟΠ house was recently discovered to contain evidence of mold. Quincy University officials have relocated all three of the residing members until further testing of the mold can be done.
“All of the women have been temporarily moved and that is just a safety precaution just in case the mold is toxic we don’t want them to be in an unsafe environment,” Sutter said.
“All that they told us was, ‘mold is in the house, we have to move out’ they didn’t give us a date or what was happening so that was on a Friday after office hours so we had to wait until Monday to even talk with anybody about what was going on. It was just really stressful,” Mccollough said, “it wasn’t handled super professionally by the school.”
A woman in the house was feeling ill so she requested that the house be tested to see if it had mold. Maintenance came in and tested several of the common areas in the house and came to the conclusion that there was mold in the house.
There are hundreds of different types of mold found both outdoors and indoors and that can grow and thrive on a variety of surfaces all with various levels of exposure. Different types of mold can also grow in different colors, which may help to identify which type it could be.
“I know the houses are old obviously so they are all going to have some sort of damage, and I know they all don’t have the right kind of ventilation and the upkeep isn’t always maintained.” Allison Doellman, senior and chapter president of ΑΟΠ said, “It gets hard when there are several places for maintenance to take care of.”
“Our students are kind of hard on our houses. And it makes it difficult for us to go in there and make repairs in the summer and some of the stuff goes unreported so our students are in there for nine months and then in the summertime, if our students don’t report there is an issue we don’t always catch it when we go in there,” Sutter said.
As of now there is no determination on the type of mold it is, but the mold is in the process of being tested by professionals to determine what kind of mold it is and what the next steps are that need to be taken. Mccollough says the professional test itself could cost up to a couple thousand dollars because they have to take several samples in each room.
“It will take a couple of weeks before we find out what is in the house. At that point we need to work with our facilities department to figure out what the next steps are,” Sutter said.
“It’s so hard to say what’s next for us. But I do hope the communication improves because up to this point it has been very unsatisfactory,” Mccollough said, “We are really fortunate to have the house for sisterhood bonding but even if they come back and say the mold is not harmful, I don’t know if that’s a place we want people to live.”
This is not the first event of mold being found on QU’s campus.
“It’s just inconvenient because this is the second time in two years that we have lost our house to mold.” Mccollough said, “It’s just stressful with midterms and everything.”
Almost two years ago on Oct. 28, 2014, penicillium aspergillus mold, a common type of mold that is present in all dwellings and is only dangerous when the levels are elevated, was discovered in the previous ΑΟΠ house, which remains vacant, as well as the basement of Francis Hall, in MacHugh Theatre.
“It was really frustrating because I’m the property manager and they didn’t even notify the girls affected directly, I think it was badly handled by QU. Maintenance came to do some work on the house a couple weeks ago and were surprised that there were girls still living in the house,” Mccollough said, “my job [as property manager] is to advocate for these students and to get them in the best possible scenario. I think there has been a lot of miscommunication between administration and the girls.”
As for maintenance, Mccollough says, that they used to have their own department here on campus but with decreased funding that department has since been outsourced to other contractors who will perform only on a job-to-job basis. The problem with this is that these contractors only work if something is reported. If it is not reported it does not get done.
“Last year I would get confirmation emails from the maintenance team when they would complete something and then this year they don’t tell us anything has been done,” Mccollough said, “so it’s hard because you don’t know whether they are done or if they are coming back, so it is hard to keep them honest as to the work they have really done.”
“The dorms have the cleaning staff that come in Monday through Thursday maybe even Friday to clean the bathrooms and stuff, but the houses don’t get that and that is understandable, but even during the summer, they don’t go into those houses to clean them,” Mccollough said, “I just feel that they don’t do a whole lot to upkeep things.”
“We are trying to work with the ladies to make sure that we can accommodate them, it’s not an ideal situation so we are just trying to do the best we can with working with them and there advisors to make the transition as easy as possible, it’s not easy moving in the middle of the semester,” Sutter said.
If you are at all suspicious about mold in your room or house, click here for preventative measures. This site informs users where to locate a professional mold tester, describes different types of mold and their effects and symptoms.