Mason officials address student concerns about mold in dorms

Chad Fehr (left) and other university officials speak with Dominion residents about mold concerns (photo by Dakota Cunningham).
Chad Fehr (left) and other university officials speak with Dominion residents about mold concerns (photo by Dakota Cunningham).

On Dec. 5, university officials met with students to discuss concerns about heightened levels of mold in the Commonwealth and Dominion dormitories.

“There are a lot of rumors going around the halls about mold,” said Chad Fehr, assistant director for resident life in the Rappahannock neighborhood. “We wanted to make sure we address this issue right off the bat.”

Word of mold-related illnesses began early in the week, when some students reported that others were going to the hospital in response to high levels of mold in their rooms and bathroom.

“We have had four situations reported about mold,” said Laura Duckworth, director of Occupational Health and Safety for Mason. Officials confirmed that one student from Commonwealth has gone to the hospital. The other reported mold problems were in the Dominion and Liberty dormitories.

Duckworth said that based off of the information they have now, there is not enough evidence to say that there is a heightened amount of mold in either Commonwealth or Dominion.

“There does not appear to be a systemic problem in the building,” Duckworth said.

Tests are being conducted in both buildings to measure for different mold types and whether or not current levels are harmful to health.  Because there are no set regulations for mold, the analysts will have to conduct cross-comparison tests to determine whether current levels are harmful.

“[Officials] went over to do air testing and sampling,” said Jana Hurley, assistant vice president of University Life. “What I’m being told is being found is very topical and isn’t in the system.”

At the meeting, students were told that several factors might lead to mold growth, including high humidity levels, food and moisture.

“Health of the students is our top priority,” Hurley said.

If students are concerned about mold in their rooms or bathrooms, they are encouraged to file a work order form to have it inspected or eradicated. They are also encouraged to go to student health if they experience any symptoms of illness.


At a Dec. 6 meeting, the Mason Student Senate passed a resolution requesting that all residence halls "be inspected for mold and any other hazardous material." The resolution asked that the university accomodate any student who's room have been affected by mold infestation, and to provide alternative housing while the "rooms are cleaned and returned to sanitary and safe conditions." The document also asked the university to inform students on "the symptoms of mold poisoning, what mold looks like, and preventative measures to take against mold infestation."

Connect2Mason will update this story with any new information.


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