Mold has been increasingly becoming an issue in Morgantown over the last year, and other areas are experiencing the problem, too.
In Glassboro, N.J., students are upset that mold isn’t being removed fast enough in the student townhouses at Rowan University.
According to the article on myfoxphilly.com, “University officials told students about the mold in this letter last month admitting they knew about the problem since last September.”
Despite knowing about the mold since September, university officials waited six months to alert students. They told the news station that the “problem is bigger than they first thought and they need more people to clean it all up.”
NJ.com says that “A Monroe Township-based environmental consultant has released a report alleging widespread mold contamination throughout the ventilation systems of 109 of the 113 townhouses on Rowan University’s campus.” Of those 113, 70 percent had “heavy to excessive” mold.
Edward Knorr — the principal environmental/health investigator with Quality Environmental Concepts who has been contracted by Rowan for 18 years — said after he performed mold investigations this winter, he advised Rowan officials about the problem and urged them to conduct further evaluations. Knorr said officials refused and banned him from the university.
However, Rowan University spokesman Joe Cardona says they are not ignoring any of these recommendations and are actually following the protocol laid out by Knorr. In addition, no students have reported negative effects from mold at this time, Cardona said.
Knorr said that a student had reported mold on her bedpost. After removal, mold kept returning, leading him to believe that it must have been coming through the heating system. When he looked inside the HVAC, it was coated with mold.
Mold on an HVAC system at the Rowan townhouses. (Photo credit: NJ.com)
So far, 24 units have been cleaned – 10 during winter break and 14 during spring break. Cardona said some things will be left until summer, “but only because it’s not harmful or disturbing students in any way.”
During West Virginia’s legislative session this year, members of West Virginia University’s Student Government Association worked to try to get a bill passed that would make landlords more accountable for removing mold.
House Bill 4425 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
I contacted Earl Hewitt, the SGA’s off-campus housing director who worked on creating the bill with members of WVU’s student legal services and the environmental health and safety staff, to find out what he plans to do next since the bill was not passed.
Hewitt said the next step for him is to get in touch with Sen. Robert D. Beach (D – Monongalia County), in order to build a better relationship with him for next session to get more pull in the senate. He also sent emails to the senators who sat on the subcommittee, and Beach was the only one to respond. He said he wants to be persistent with them to figure out what seemed to be the problems with the bill.
Another step Hewitt plans to take is to set up a meeting with people who were involved over the past year with drafting the bill to find “the best way to attack for next session.”
I did have some more follow-up questions for Hewitt, but he has not yet responded. When/if he does, I’ll be sure to update again.