Hazardous Mold Sickens Campus Residents

Jacob Martinez, Managing Editor

Mushrooms and mold continue to spread around William Paterson’s student dormitories while the university waits to receive a project start date from a mold treating company.

Pictures of mushrooms sprouting from cracks in the hallway walls and patches of mold growing on mattresses were posted on Twitter last week from a student currently living in Heritage Hall. Chris Turner-Demondo, a Broadcast Journalism senior, posted images of vents, ceiling and air systems infested with the blotchy, dark fungi. The two work orders Turner-Demondo submitted to have facilities inspect and remove the infected areas went unanswered until the images were posted online.

“It just felt like they were ignoring our work orders,” said Demondo. “At that point, I wanted people outside of our living area to what we all have to deal with.”

Victoria Vlassakis

Flourishing News

New York Pix 11 broadcasted the story of students Omarr Kabal and Chadwyck Linwood who reside in Heritage and Hillside Hall respectively and have seen the mold taking over their living space. Rebecca Baird, Associate Director of Residence Life for Staff Recruitment, Development and Training, posted a thread message to students stating the Department of Residency Life apologizes for any “frustration and inconvenience.” The Department also states it is “working to prioritize and address issues as quickly as possible.”

Some students have apparently fallen ill over the last month which can be caused by being exposed to moldy living conditions. The apartments and dorm rooms with mold infestation are especially dangerous for anyone with pre-existing health conditions. Some symptoms of mold exposure are “irritated eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Director of Residence Life Joe Caffarelli asks students who spot any mold in their living areas to contact the Pioneer Office for removal of the infestation “until the outside vendor treats the apartment.” A resident assistant living on campus said she never received warning of the growth of mold in her apartment before moving in. WPU charges more than $11,000 for room and board with the capability to house up to 2,600 students in 10 substance-free residence halls.

Victoria Vlassakis

Parental Concerns

Concerned parents have called and emailed the university’s residence leadership requesting the name of the company selected to eradicate the mold, demanded a speedy clean-up start date and called for a detailed plan-of-action to ensure the mold does not return. All rooms and apartments are inspected by designated Residence Life staff before the fall semester begins with repairs completed as students submit requests.  In May, WPU posted a job listing in search of a new assistant director of residence life facilities management. The currently listed assistant facilities director, Nick DiMinni, has yet to make any comments on the issue.

The university is also awaiting the results of air quality tests to determine the safety of its students. Earlier air quality tests have “come back within normal range,” according to Caffarelli. The university’s administration asks those not feeling well to visit a physician.

The Beacon will continue to monitor and report on this subject as more information becomes available.