Black mold in Morrison

Entrance to the dorms Rauenhorst and Morrison.

Entrance to the newest dorms on campus, Rauenhorst and Morrison.

Now that the fall semester will soon be coming to an end, many students living on campus feel right at home in their dorms. Students will have decorated their rooms with posters and pictures and say at the end of a long day how happy they are to be back in their rooms.

However, for the four students living in Morrison 115, this is not the case.

“We were told by the RA on our floor before move-in day that there was mold in the room and that she already talked to facilities about it,” said Jade Rundquist, ’18, an ASL Interpreting major.

This mold was discovered before move in day 2015.

This mold was discovered before move in day 2015.

“It took them a week after we moved in for facilities to come and clean it up. Even then they just wiped it down with bleach,” added Rundquist’s roommate Jaime Schumacher, ’18, also an ASL Interpreting major.

Residence Life originally did not know about the mold in Morrison until the students of room 115 had to be moved.

“It wasn’t until the students started emailing facilities repeatedly about the mold, did we realize something was going on,” Director of Residence Life Heidi Anderson-Isaacson said.

Five weeks later, facilities returned to room 115 to conduct an air test on the suite. After testing the air, facilities told the residents that if the mold reappeared or seemed to be getting worse, treat it using bleach.

On Oct. 15, the four girl roommates were told they would have to move out of their suite for a week since facilities needed to continue treatment on the mold. The results of the test came back and they were not good.

“At first they wouldn’t tell us the results; we had to keep emailing them asking about it,” said Myranda Gelhaus, ’18, occupational therapy major.

When administration responded, they were told the mold residing in their suite was black mold. The residents were moved into an apartment in Morrison.

“There were three beds, an air mattress and a desk for the four of us to share,” Rundquist said.

While originally told it would just take a week for the mold to be treated and for the girls to be allowed to move into their suite, the four roommates were not allowed back into their suit until Nov. 5, 21 days later.

“We tried to do what we could. The treatment of the mold took a lot longer than what we wanted. This whole situation has been frustrating for everyone involved. I’m glad that we found them a place where they could still all live together,” Anderson-Isaacson said.

“The worst part is how they treated us. They acted like we were making a big deal out of nothing, but this was black mold. Black mold can cause brain hemorrhages, tumors, death! Still it took them forever to do something about it,” Schumer said. “This really affected my view of St. Kate’s as a school that advocates for their students.”

Anderson-Isaacson was disappointed with how things were handled.

“A lot of things happened this semester that does not usually happen, and unfortunately because of that we were unable to address the mold in Morrison sooner.” Anderson-Isaacson said. “A lot of this had to do with miscommunication between the students, facilities, and Residence Life. The fact that St. Kate’s has never seen this type of mold before was also causing a lot of frustration.”

With frustration coming from both administration and the residents, the mold affected more than just the walls of the suit.

“I won’t live on campus again, that’s for sure,” Rundquist said.

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