Kennedy Smith, a freshman biology pre-med major at Florida A&M University, has voiced multiple complaints concerning the mold in her Young Hall dorm room.
Smith first noticed the mold on the dresser on her move-in day, Aug. 23. She says the room was dirty, so she did not overthink it too much. She had never been introduced to mold, so she wiped everything down like any other student does when first moving into a dorm.
The mold problem appeared to be gone, at least that is what she thought until mid-September. The mold issue resurfaced – but this time it was spreading beyond just her dresser.
“It took me finding mold on my backpack to actually start looking everywhere else and noticing the mold was spreading,” Smith said.
When she complained, custodians came to her dorm and simply wiped the mold off with bleach.
FAMU Housing states it is committed to providing all students with an exceptional and healthy campus living experience. Since last year it has implemented several platforms for residents to express concerns or maintenance needs. This includes but is not limited to, a form or email to report any issues, room checks by staff and resident advisors and an open-door policy with all staff.
“We are all partners in your living experience. Communicate directly with us so that we can respond to your concerns appropriately. We may not always see your post on social media; therefore, it is important to contact us first and directly to give staff ample time to address the issue,” said Jennifer Wilder, director of University Housing
In most cases, the response time is between 48 and 72 hours, or sooner if there is an emergency or an urgent matter to address.
After being in contact with the mold and watching it grow in her room and on her personal belongings, Smith began to develop respiratory problems. She said that her repeated reports to RAs were ignored and it took her mother and aunt complaining to get the problem addressed.
Smith was moved into another room in the same dorm, where she noticed it also had mold before being allowed to leave Young Hall and move into the newest built dorms at FAMU Village.
Housing staff reports that during their visits to the reported rooms, and during recent standard visits, they found issues, such as windows being left open for long periods of time, thermostat temperatures set incorrectly, or unhung wet garments and/or towels.
To help combat these issues and have an open dialogue with students, a meeting was held with residents of Young Hall to educate them on the upcoming indoor air quality maintenance schedule. During the meeting, environmental health and safety staff members provided residents with key tips for preventing indoor air quality and moisture issues, and students were reminded of how to effectively report maintenance issues.
Staff also spoke with students about any additional concerns they had, and maintenance staff was on-site to take their reports and began work immediately. Students were informed that housing training and maintenance would continue to ensure the best living experience possible.