By Tony Bartelme / Post and Courier
Enrollment (rounded): 2,300
After a newsworthy mold outbreak in 2017, The Citadel installed dehumidifiers in every cadet’s room.
The school said temperature sensors had been improperly placed in rooms, creating unneeded moisture problems – and mold. According to The Citadel, 16 mold cases have been reported since 2020. Most appeared to be minor cases in bathrooms and under sinks.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
11,000College of Charleston had the second-highest tally of complaints among South Carolina’s public higher education institutions, with 422 reports during the past two years.
Housing officials said 119 of those reports were “founded,” meaning staff found mold present. All the rest were cases where students mistakenly believed mold was rust.
Housing officials said that 119 of those reports were “founded,” meaning staff found mold. Only 37 of those were confirmed. McAlister hall, which has more than 500 beds and is currently being renovated, is one of the largest dorms at campus. Berry Hall had 91 reports on mold, 30 of which were confirmed by the university. College Lodge had 28 reports, of which five were founded.
Kelly House had 52, with 23 founded cases. The building’s records of repairs show the difficulties of identifying and eliminating mold from rooms. A private contractor conducted an inspection of the building in October 2021 and found that there was a lot of mold in the air ducts. This problem wasn’t fixed by previous cleanings. Mold also was found on walls, cabinets and windows.
College officials spent more than $78,000 on
contractors and inspectors during the past two years, records show.mold remediationCOASTAL CAROLINA
10,400Coastal Carolina had at least 220 mold-related complaints during the past two years spread across a campus with about 4,600 beds.
Blue Ridge, Ingle Hall, Piedmont Hall and Eaglin Hall saw the most mold complaints.
Said one Blue Ridge resident: “Everyone in my room is experiencing symptoms of black mold. They are disgusting, I discovered after looking into our air vents. Students have posted comments on social media about mold and the “coastal cough,” generating tens of thousands of views.
Steve Harrison, CCU’s vice president for auxiliary services, said the university works with a company to test for potential microbial growth in all residence halls at least twice a year.
26,400Clemson had more than 320 reports related to mold during the past two years, with its Lightsey Bridge 1 and 2 complex leading the pack with nearly 70 cases, followed by Calhoun Courts with 36.
FRANCIS MARION UNIVERSITY
4,300Francis Marion manages nearly 600 housing units on its campus. According to university records, there were 184 mold complaints over the past two years. A sample:
“BLACK MOLD!!! In bathroom. It is a problem that we have allergies to and must be addressed immediately. “
” The mold in my room is so bad that it makes me feel unsafe staying on campus. Mold is growing on my ceiling, in my carpet and around my air vent. “
” Hello, I found mold in my closet. Mold is an allergy of mine. It even got into my shoes. John Sweeney, a university spokesperson, said that all mold problems were dealt with by maintenance personnel. These included “surface level cleanings.” He said that the university did not hire any outside companies to deal with mold. The school sees roughly twice as many mold reports during the fall semester than the spring, work orders show.
2,600News reports in 2021 described how several Furman students were affected by mold exposures, including one who said she ended up in a hospital because of a reaction. Independent inspectors found very little mold at Furman University, according to the Paladin newspaper. A reporter polled 26 residents in one apartment block; 20 noted visible mold in their living spaces.
School officials told The Post and Courier that six dorm units had mold issues in the previous two years. The school said it spent $18,302 for cleaning services, which ranged from wiping down surfaces to cleaning duct work.Students caused most issues, officials said, by not correctly setting thermostats or by failing to run bathroom vent fans.
John Harrell, a Charleston attorney, said his experience suing this private college in Sumter opened his eyes to what he believes is a national crisis.He filed a lawsuit in late 2017 alleging that moldy dorms sickened students. According to the suit, school officials should have warned students about moldy dorms and ignored student pleas for help.
Harrell stated that he only asked for the $55 million in damages as a wake up call.He claimed Morris officials treated the situation “as though it never happened here.” Leroy Staggers, the college president, stated that the school had resolved its mold problems.
He also said that it hired a mold contractor in order to clean up campus buildings. The school also trained and certified its five maintenance staffers to address mold outbreaks.
In 2020, Morris students and administrators settled the lawsuit – for an undisclosed amount.
Overall, Harrell said he was left feeling that mold would emerge as a major source of litigation. “One of my favorite parts about the case was the fact that other schools approached me and said, ‘Us too. “
10Winthrop had more than 270 reports of mold in dorm rooms over the past two years, highlighting the challenges of maintaining older buildings. “
Rock HillEnrollment (rounded):
Winthrop had more than 270 reports of mold in dorm rooms during the past two years, highlighting the challenge of keeping up older buildings.
Examples of what maintenance crews documented:
From January 2022 in Courtyard: “Resident in bedroom B states that there is mold growing from their air vent in the bedroom, which is causing an allergic reaction. “
From Leewicker Hall in August 2020, “One of the beds has mold growth on it. “
From Richardson, February 2021: “There’s visible mildew growth in the ceiling space above the resident’s bed. The resident continues to have health problems. “
University officials stated that Richardson (and Wofford), two halls constructed in the mid-1960s have been closed as part a campus revitalization program. These buildings will be demolished, and new ones built. Those older dorms house more than 760 beds.
James Grigg, associate vice president for facilities management, said the state’s “hot and humid summers cause many challenges to institutions as they maintain indoor air environments,” along with old HVAC or ventilation units.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA BRANCH CAMPUSESLocations:
Aiken, Beaufort-area, Spartanburg
When first asked for mold-related documents, USC Aiken (3,500 students, rounded) initially demanded that The Post and Courier pay nearly $3,700 to fulfill an open records request. The newspaper reduced the scope of the request and the university stated that it had five mold-related complaints in the last two years.
USC Upstate (6,000 students, round) initially requested that USC Aiken pay nearly $3,700 to fulfill an open records request.
USC Beaufort (2,005 students, rounded), reported 31 cases across its three campuses on Beaufort, Bluffton, and Hilton Head Island. There are several examples of student complaints:
USC Beaufort (2,000 students, rounded) reported 31 cases across its three campuses in Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island. My pillow that I had on my desk was destroyed by mold. Mold in the bathroom. My roommate is allergic to mold. “
” There is black mold in the ceiling above the shower. I have asthma. This is why I can’t be there. “
Bruce Millers of The (Sumter) Item contributed this report.