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Students Question Living Conditions in UNG Residence Halls

Water+running+from+Patriot+Hall+sink.+
Patriot Hall resident
Water running from Patriot Hall sink.

Some University of North Georgia students have said the living conditions in their residence halls have promoted mold growth, possibly causing mold poisoning.

A junior Owen Hall resident says she went an entire school year with a broken air conditioning, as well as a burst pipe which flooded her apartment. She says that mold grew because of the combination of moisture and lack of airflow. “I was chronically ill… I ended up with multiple incompletes in my classes because I was too sick… I had to go to the ER in March, and went to other urgent cares when [Student Health Services] wasn’t helping enough.” 

She also says a nurse at Student Health Services said there were “waves of people” from Owen Hall going to the clinic and the nurse suspected mold, but told her to “keep it under wraps.” 

One senior political science major says he experienced coughing and shortness of breath while living in Gaillard Hall, which Parsley Health identifies as symptoms of mold poisoning. “The cadet dorms, Gaillard especially, have an issue with black mold effectively being engraved into the walls. Despite everyone’s best cleaning efforts, this is a recurring issue.” 

A former resident of Lewis Hall says “The mold was so bad. It completely overtook the bathroom. Even the bugs in there had mold growing on their bodies.” 

A student put a mold testing kit in his Owen Hall dorm room which did not grow any mold.

Kevin Blanch, the interim director of Residence Life, says he has never heard of a case of mold poisoning in the residence halls. He says residents should alert Residence Life when health issues arise, because they are Residence Life’s “eyes and ears.” However, some students have said it takes a long time to get maintenance requests answered. John Martin, a sophomore computer science major, says it took over five months to get the air conditioning in his Commons dorm room fixed. 

Blanch says if maintenance does not respond to a request, residents should tell their resident assistant about the problem. “The best [thing to do] is go to their Resident Director… Or call or email the residence life office.” 

“They finally [fixed the air conditioning] after four to five maintenance requests,” Martin says. 

Marley Stevens, a junior human services delivery and administration major, lives in Owen Hall and says, “There’s so many bugs and they never bring exterminators out to even fix anything.” She also says her heater has been broken since she returned from fall break, and maintenance said they will not be able to fix it for at least three days. “It’s already 58 degrees in our apartment and it just keeps getting colder.” 

One junior Patriot Hall resident says he turned on the water in his dorm room the morning of Nov. 17 and the water ran brown. “It wasn’t pleasant, I can say that,” says the resident. 

Julia Skala, president of UNG’s Residence Hall Association, says the brown water was from water being shut off to repair pipes because when the water sits in the pipes, it turns brown. She says Residence Life did not inform residents of the repairs until the middle of the process. 

Skala says she encourages students to “come to RHA meetings if [they] are having health problems like this. We are here to help with them and be the voice of students.” 

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About the Contributor
Ari Wheeler, Staff Writer
I am a junior political science major with a minor in journalism. The majority of my stories focus on social issues affecting students, but my other interests include music and mental health. In my free time I'm usually playing my guitar or writing music. I strive to produce honest, quality writing for Vanguard readers.
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