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The Campus Beautiful...and Mold?

By Christian Pridemore
On February 11, 2016

Pictured is one of the bathtubs in Wilson Hall, where mold and mildew has mandated the replacing of shower curtains. 
Photo by Christian Pridemore



 As we come out of winter, sometimes pipes break and water seeps out, or your shower will leak and eventually a mold culture will begin to grow. According to an article on, the primary causes of mold in bathrooms are having the bathroom improperly ventilated, having standing water or general dampness, and broken grout. All three of these problems can easily occur in the residence hall bathrooms and lead to mold and mildew, which is why RA’s and RD’s such as Megan Webber are making sure that such a problem doesn’t arise.

After conducting an investigation regarding a complaint about mold being in the Wilson bathrooms, Webber states, “I had my RA’s check every crevice of all the bathrooms in Wilson and Sarvay, and they said that they found nothing. There were some instances of mildew on the shower curtains but other than that they didn’t find anything they thought was mold.” Bill Fraley, who is the Director of Housing and Residence Life on campus, reaffirms this claim by stating, “Wednesday night(02/03/16), Megan Webber and I got her RA’s to check every bathroom and every shower in Wilson on their rounds throughout the evening, and told them to thoroughly inspect it. They didn’t find any mold in any of the showers anywhere. They did find one or two shower curtains that had a little bit of mildew on them…the next day, custodial services took those curtains out and put new ones up.”

Both Webber and Fraley state that they have a good relationship with the custodial staff, but they have a limited jurisdiction over them. Custodial services has a completely different supervisor than the residence halls staff, with Tina Brown being the director. Webber gives a definition of the process by stating, “So say a complaint comes in and they came right to me. What I would do is have someone investigate it, and if they thought it was an issue, at that point my RA’s come back to me…and what I’ll do is let [Tina] know at that point that we’ve had some complaints. At that point, Tina will disperse to them, and they’ll decide if they need to clean the shower curtain or replace it. I don’t have jurisdiction over them.”

Webber and Fraley are also both very busy on campus. On any given day, Webber can be seen going in and out of nearly every residence hall and the student center, whereas Fraley deals with everything from student complaints to being a liaison for most other departments on campus to being an emergency responder. Therefore, when complaints such as mold arise, it’s usually an RA that will try to correct it. However, one of the major problems is not the RA’s or RD’s lack of action, but the student’s failure to report such instances when they notice them.

Fraley states, “It’s very important any time there’s an issue-or a perceived issue, maybe a student sees something they think is mold, but it’s not mold, but if they don’t know for sure, they should report it to us. If they see something that they think is broken or not working right, they should report it to us. We have 3 RD’s on the whole campus, we have myself, and we have 28 RA’s, so if you think about it, we have just over 30 people. We can’t know what’s going on all the time. So we depend on people to let us know. We’ll see it eventually, but by the time we see it…you may have seen it two weeks before we noticed it…If this had been mold, and we hadn’t known about it, it could’ve gotten worse and spread and cause health issues for people. So it’s very important that we address these things.”

    To address the issue of what may or may not be mold, here are some key signs for which to look. According to an article on, common signs of mold include a sour or earthy smell, a muddy appearance, and loose tiles which may be infested with mold. Other types of mold also cause unsightly spotting, and in some cases, mold might not even be visible. For those that want to try to prevent mold before it begins, suggests things like providing proper ventilation using a fan, keeping wet items such as bath mats and towels off the floor, and making sure that your bathroom is being regularly cleaned.

    Fraley encourages students to speak up. The custodial staff and the residential staff are here to listen and help with any problems the students face regarding the upkeep of the dorms. Fraley says, “We will investigate whatever it is. It’s important for people to know that you can report things to RA’s, you can report it to RD’s, you can report it to me. We’re glad to help, but we need help from other people to let us know what’s going on.”

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