Reports of mold in East Carolina University’s Clement Residence Hall have created concern among its residents who cite potential illnesses linked to the mold that has spread through the building.
Director of Housing Operations Aaron Lucier said in an email statement while students have reported seeing mold, there have been no findings of a serious mold issue in Clement Hall. He said there has been varying degrees of dust buildup in the residency.
“If we (Student Living) do find mold, we have a protocol for it,” Lucier said. “In the case of dust buildup, we also have a protocol to clean out the unit. A.C. (air conditioning) units were serviced last month, but with constant use, dust buildup is expected.”
Lucier said because mold spores are everywhere where humidity is present, ECU works to create an environment that prevents mold growth. He said the residencies have controlled humidity levels and circulated air-flow.
Student Living has invested in new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in Fletcher, Legacy and Jones Hall, according to Lucier. This is to add more air circulation to prevent mold buildups.
“These systems are also in the other high-rise residence halls, Clement, White, Greene, and Tyler Halls,” Lucier said. “Bathroom exhausts in all the residence halls remove the humid air from the bathrooms and don’t filter through the rest of the building.”
Lucier said some of the service requests have noted coughs, sneezing or general upper respiratory issues. He said Greenville, North Carolina, has had high or very high ragweed pollen counts over the last few weeks which can cause these issues.
If these symptoms continue, students should see medical professionals, Lucier said. He said the Office of Housing Operations takes issues like mold very seriously and works to find solutions and prevent concerns like this from happening.
“(Housing Operations) have been checking units and rooms when we hear concerns,” Lucier said. “ECU’s Environmental Health and Safety department has been part of many of these room inspections as they check on environmental conditions.”
Freshman communication major Carlie West, who lives in Clement Hall, said she has seen mold in other students’ rooms and even her own. She said ECU has been extremely helpful when they were made aware of the mold in Clement Hall.
West said when she found mold in her room, she was the one who had to clean it. She said once it was brought to maintenance, the maintenance crew was very helpful in discarding the mold.
“I’m honestly not sure what could be causing all this mold in the dorms,” West said. “The mold I found was under the refrigerator so I’m sure it was caused by a lot of built up moisture, but I can’t speak for other students who have mold in their dorms.”
West said she had felt sick almost directly after moving into the dorms. She said she had a cough and congestion and it only got better after she cleaned out the dorm and got rid of the mold.
ECU needs to work on making rooms more safe for students, West said. She said many other students in Clement Hall are experiencing the same mold issue as her and it is unsafe if left unattended.
“Obviously it is hard to maintain every single room in Clement Hall,” West said. “Things as simple as changing the air conditioner filters could definitely help alleviate the issue so many of us students have had.”
Freshman physical therapy major Aaron Hunter said he has experienced mold in his dorm. He said he and his roommate found the mold after feeling sick and cleaning out the dorm after they moved in.
Hunter said Clement Hall has been experiencing problems with mold since the freshmen moved in. He said he hopes maintenance or the university can find a solution because the conditions can be unsafe for the students who live in the hall.
“It’s a pretty big problem because so many of us (students) have found mold in our dorms,” Hunter said. “Maintenance has said they are trying to fix the mold problem but I hope they can do it soon.”