A column published by The Post on Sept. 9, 2021, under the headline ‘Tre’s Takes: The dirty in ‘Dirty South,’ contains a number of allegations about the university that simply aren’t true.
In the column, the writer alleges that the university “won’t maintain safe living conditions” for students; that the university has “neglected this issue,” referencing mold; and has “neglected to give any resources to mitigate this issue.” The writer also alleged that Residence Life did nothing to assist, despite reporting in the same paragraph that a resident assistant helped him with a work order — which is exactly what’s meant to happen. The air conditioning unit in question was replaced within 48 hours of the receipt of the work order. And the writer alleges that a photograph showing a dirty air conditioner is evidence of mold. Note, however, that mold can’t be identified on sight alone; a test of the substance is required to verify the existence of mold. It’s also alleged that Facilities Management and Safety “recently” became aware of “serious issues” with ventilation and mold growth. During The Post’s recent inquiry into this matter, we were not asked questions about ventilation, and we have always taken mold growth seriously and have provided resources and guidelines for students to follow if they suspect they have mold in their residence hall rooms.
Ohio University Facilities Management and Safety takes a number of actions each year to maintain residence hall spaces in all buildings. Each summer, a change of occupancy procedure is followed, including cleaning, repairing and painting spaces (using antimicrobial paint); cleaning, repairing or replacing air conditioning units as needed; and running air conditioning throughout the summer to prevent mold growth in residence hall rooms. These actions are taken in every residence hall on campus. Further, throughout the school year, residents may request that staff clean or, as needed, replace their air conditioning unit filters.
In short, we take the safety of our students very seriously, and we know that some students may be more sensitive to mold because of allergies or preexisting medical conditions. That’s why we have a robust system in place to work to prevent mold from growing and to respond quickly and effectively if it does — within 24 hours during the week and within 48 hours on weekends. Aside from extreme conditions that we have not found in recent years, in most cases, mold spore count is much higher outdoors than it is in any of our residence halls.
If a student would like a room change due to mold concerns, they can reach out to Housing and Residence Life.
Steve Wood is the chief facilities management officer of facilities management and safety at Ohio University.