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 college, 16 mold cases have been reported by The Citadel since 2020. Most appeared to be minor cases in bathrooms and under sinks.
College of Charleston
Enrollment (rounded): 11,000
College 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 or dust.
McAlister Hall received the most complaints with 108 of the 422. 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 received 91 mold reports. The university also confirmed 30 of them. College Lodge had 28 mold reports, five of which were founded.
Kelly house had 52 reports, and 23 cases were founded. Repair records from the building show the difficulties of identifying and eliminating mold rooms. A private contractor conducted an inspection of the building in October 2021 and found that there was cladosporium buildup 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
Enrollment (rounded): 10,400
Coastal 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.
Enrollment (rounded): 26,400
Clemson 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
Enrollment (rounded): 4,300
Francis Marion manages nearly 600 housing units on its campus. According to university records, there were 184 mold complaints in the school’s past two years. Sample:
“BLACK MOLD!” In bathroom. It is a problem that affects our allergies. Mold is growing in my carpet, on my ceiling and around my air vent. “
- ” Hello, I found mold in my closet. I am allergic to mold. It has even got on a pair of my shoes.”
- University spokesman John Sweeney said all mold issues were handled by the university’s maintenance staff, and that they involved “surface level cleanings.”
- The university didn’t hire outside companies to address mold, he said. The school sees roughly twice as many mold reports during the fall semester than the spring, work orders show.
Location: GreenvilleEnrollment (rounded): 2,600
News 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, but the school said that they had not been able to find it.
The Paladin was the school’s newspaper. 26 people lived in an apartment block when a reporter surveyed them. Twenty of them reported visible mold.
School officials informed The Post and Courier that six dormitories had suffered mold problems in the past 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.
Location: Rock Hill
Enrollment (rounded): 5,200
Winthrop had more than 270 reports of mold in dorm rooms over 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. Lee Wicker Hall, August 2020: “One bed has mold growing on. “
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 campuses
Locations: 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. After the newspaper narrowed the scope of its request, the university said it had five documented mold complaints during the past two years.
USC-Upstate in Spartanburg (6,000 students, rounded) reported 16 mold cases.
USC-Beaufort (2,000 students, rounded) reported 31 across its three campuses in Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island. There are several examples of student complaints:
USC-Upstate in Spartanburg (6,000 students, rounded) reported 16 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. “
- Location: Sumter
- Enrollment (rounded): 400
- 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.
The school sought damages of $55 million — quite a large amount for such a small school. 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 the most fascinating parts of the case was the fact that other schools approached us and said, ‘Us too.’ I truly believe mold is widespread and affects thousands.
Bruce Millers of The (Sumter) Item contributed this report.