University Housing has been flooded with mold maintenance requests due primarily to the high amount of rain San Luis Obispo has received this season. From the Sierra Madre and Yosemite halls to the Poly Canyon Village (PCV) apartments, buildings old and new have been affected by the problem, forcing students to move.
“This is a unique year, in the sense that we have experienced more rainfall than in recent years,” Nona Matthews, assistant director of outreach & communications for University Housing, said.
Environmental science freshman Jordan Kranz and his two roommates in Fremont Hall experienced a particularly bad case of black mold, describing the walls as “sweating” and accumulating several sections of black mold.
Monday morning, Kranz woke up covered in moisture.
“I looked at the wall above me and black mold was starting to form,” Kranz said. “I am going to have to throw away bedding and get a professional to clean all my clothes because they have active mold spores living in them. Pretty inconvenient.”
Kranz said he was informed by University Housing that he had to “file a claim and get an attorney” to be reimbursed for ruined items he has to replace, including fishing gear and expensive boots he uses for class.
“For the amount of money I am paying to live here, I shouldn’t have to worry about stuff like this,” Kranz said.
All three students were relocated to other rooms and a maintenance team is replacing or cleaning the room’s surfaces. Other students have expressed concerns that the air vents connecting the whole building may send fumes throughout the hall.
Across campus in Trinity Hall, history freshman Ryan Fogg and his roommates experienced a similar situation when they found black mold accumulating in the corner of the ceiling on the exposed red bricks. After reporting the situation, they said it took several weeks to get a legitimate response from University Housing.
“After stopping by with no solution, they finally came to solve the issue and gave us a massive industrial fan,” Fogg said. “Low and behold, it didn’t dry it out.”
So far, Fogg and his roommates said the mold has barely been reduced, but they are actively trying to air out the room.
Down the hall, another student chose to temporarily move to Lassen Hall while the mold was being treated in his room. His roommate remained in Trinity Hall and was not required to leave.
The mold issue doesn’t just affect students living in the older buildings. Residents of the newer PCV apartments have also reported finding mold in their rooms.
Liberal studies sophomore Lexi Predmore and her apartment mates started finding mold on the bottom of walls and on the carpet. While Predmore got a quick response and the mold was removed, she said she was hoping for a more lasting solution.
“I asked if there was something more permanent they could do, but they just said ‘call us again when it gets bad,’” Predmore said.
According to University Housing, in total five students in two rooms have been moved to other campus housing locations. Four were temporarily moved; one was a permanent move.
While there are reported mold cases every year, there have already been 70 reported cases this year as compared to 25 last school year, according to University Housing. In anticipation of the problem, University Housing sent an email notice to students letting them know how to report suspected mold through their portal.
To reduce the chances of a mold outbreak, University Housing said students should take preventative measures such as opening windows, wiping off condensation, using a dehumidifier during rainy months, removing dust and avoiding clutter near furniture to maintain the flow of air.
“All Service Requests related to mold are investigated and addressed. Cleanliness and proper air circulation are important to keep mold from reoccurring,” Matthews said. “University Housing encourages students to immediately report any signs or suspected signs of mold.”