After a routine maintenance inspection, on Jan. 20 McNutt Quad residents received a surprising email.
“Maintenance has spotted mold in McNutt,” Shelley Arroyo, McNutt residence manager, said in the email. “All of our convector units are scheduled to be cleaned within three weeks’ time — units will be cleaned, encapsulated and re-insulated.”
“Wait, what?” Trevor Walker, a McNutt resident, said. “The email was kind of scary, but we haven’t had any more information, though, so for now it’s business as usual.”
Rumors about the mold had spread through the quad. Many students have heard of it, but no one seemed to know anyone who had problems.
Walker said he doesn’t know how bad the problem is, but one student, Jessica Monberg, had a mold problem before the incident. As of 9 a.m. Thursday morning maintenance had cleaned the room. Now Monberg is staying in the Indiana Memorial Union hotel.
“Last semester I was sick all the time,” Monberg, a McNutt resident, said. ”I went to the Health Center, and they gave me an inhaler, but the problem persisted, and I had to visit a doctor’s office. I came to realize I was only sick when I was in my dorm.”
Monberg said she received a report of mold in the building and discovered she had suffered moderate levels of exposure to it.
“My mom was freaking out,” she said. “She’s emailed practically every director like seven times.”
Meanwhile, Walker said he is not too concerned about the mold because it is out of his control and he feels safe. He does not think IU is trying to put students in danger, although this is not the first time McNutt has shown its charm, he said sarcastically.
“I appreciate being kept in the loop, but they are giving us a very broad window to clean out the heaters,” Walker said.
It took Monberg a week and a half to have the mold in her filter cleaned, and hers is not the only one coated in it.
The email to students projected work on the heating units to begin sometime in the next three weeks. However, Walked said three weeks is a long time, and cleaning and reinsulating units is an involved process, so it may be a while longer before the mold is fully dealt with.
In the email from Arroyo residents were advised to keep their windows shut and remove any items around their heating units to prevent the mold from becoming airborne and lingering after the units are cleaned.
Walker said he is grateful for those working on the issue though he remains skeptical as to the viability of the plan suggested in the email. From a business perspective, he said, this is a Band-Aid fix to a bigger problem, and he is worried about the logistics.
Monberg said she was happy that her room was cleaned but was annoyed by the length of the process in general.
“Practically everyone on floor is sick, and we have to live with this for three more weeks,” Monberg said.
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