West Hall Dormitory given unwanted spotlight by the Virgin Islands Daily News
BY: KHADIJAH LEE|
ST.THOMAS- On Sept. 25 University of the Virgin Islands President, Dr. David Hall sent an email to residents of West Hall Dormitory addressing a reported mold infestation.
Journalists with the Virgin Islands Daily News appeared on campus to interview students about the mold the week before. Dr. Hall reassured students via email that “the claim that there is a colony of mold is inaccurate and sensational.” The UVI West Hall dorm was featured front page with an interview that left many readers appalled.
The Daily News reported the mold infestation has left the bathroom ceiling crumbling. The mold conditions were so bad that it may have been what sent one resident to the hospital.
Matthew Eastman, a UVI sophomore, told Daily News “One of my suitemates had an asthma attack and had to go to the hospital.”
Virgin Islands Health Department website revealed, “In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma.”
Students on the first floor described their dorm room ceiling as covered in black mold. Bubbles of water caused from swelling dangled from above their heads and pieces of the ceiling were falling uncontrollably. The scent was unbearable as soon as you entered the front door.
“You could put your finger through it,” Eastmant said to the Daily News. He said the walls were “mush.”
When a maintenance crew removed the crumbling ceiling, it became apparent that “the ceiling is all just black mold.” Eastman said the black substance had spread into and weakened an adjacent wall.
Aside from the mold infestation, students seem annoyed with the dysfunctional keys and doors. Students are unhappy since they pay a lot of money to stay in those dorms.
The room and board fee is $2,250 not including meal charges, which is also an additional $2,000.
The electronic doors constantly go offline for long periods of time. This can result in the building being wide open to non-residents.
Residents find themselves wedging open doors with rocks or other small materials that can hold open the door. If the door closes without something to stop it then it leaves residents unable to enter the dorm.
About two weeks ago, the air conditioning stopped working.
The building was built for air conditioning only. The position of the building leaves no access to natural air. Some suites had to endure the heat for one week without the housing department offering any fans.
“I talked to an RA and he said it seems like every day there is something else wrong with the building. He said they put it up in a year, and that it seems like they were really hasty to finish it,” said Eastman to Daily News.
Though Dr. Hall declined comment to the Daily News, he was able to reach out personally to the residents of West Hall. He wrote his concerns about media appearing on campus as “troubling.”
According to the UVI’s media guidelines, all requests for interviews and other public information should be sent to the Public Relations Office,” Dr. Hall said.
“I encourage each of you to utilize the processes that exist within the University to address your concerns. If you do not receive the appropriate response at the first level, please pursue it to the highest level of the University. We must all work together to ensure that UVI continues to move forward,” Dr. Hall said in closing.