Story by Lindsey Coleman, Contributing writer
Students in Springer Residential College are being forced to move to a different residential college four weeks into the semester because of non-toxic mold in the building.
On Sept. 8, the office of Student Affairs sent a memo to all Springer residents that said all residents would be moving to Old Franklin Residential College or a different residential college of their choice.
“This is a difficult situation, no question,” President Bob Davies said during the Board of Regents meeting Sept. 9.
Davies said Springer residents have the opportunity to move to a different residential college at no extra cost. For example, residents are able to move from Springer, the least expensive residential college at Murray State, to New Franklin Residential College, one of the most expensive residential colleges for the same rate.
Davies said many residents will be moving to Old Franklin, which has been ready for move-in because it was prepared for overflow housing at the start of the semester.
Davies said about 240 residents will be moving to other residential colleges on campus. About 130 of those residents had already moved to a new building as of Sept. 8.
According to the memo, “A cleaning contractor will begin working to remove mold from the impacted areas, however, there is no immediate time frame for residents to return to Springer,” and the mold is a “non-toxic, allergen type mold.”
According to the memo, students will be moving this weekend, Sept. 9-10, and staff will be on hand to help. Additionally, other clubs and organizations are helping students move, including Residential College Council members and campus ministries.
Shawn Touney, director of communication at Murray State, said the university will be in continuous communication with the affected residents.
“An inspection of the building prior to move-in revealed no evidence of mold. While a few reports of isolated areas were received shortly after the start of the semester, an increased number of reports was made over the Labor Day weekend, and Murray State University has responded aggressively,” Touney said.
Touney said even though it is unknown how long the process will take, the university is committed to minimizing the negative impact on those involved, helping residents transition effectively and resolving this issue.
“The university recognizes and apologizes for the inconvenience that this may cause and will make every attempt to assist students during this transition,” according to the memo. “The office of Student Affairs is committed to the well-being of our campus community, including when unplanned events such as these take place.”
Hope Askew, freshman from Clarksville, Tennessee, lived on the second floor of Springer until she was asked to move. She said she first noticed the mold two to three weeks ago.
Askew said she saw mold on the wall in her room, by the light on the ceiling and in the air conditioner. She said in the past two weeks, the mold definitely grew and got worse.
“It’s really nobody’s fault, but I do believe that the problem should have been assessed before we moved in,” Askew said.
Grace Rischar, freshman from Indianapolis, lived on the first floor of Springer. Rischar said she saw less mold in her room than most people, but she is glad the issue is being resolved.
The mold hasn’t been harmless to all students.
Katie Barber, freshman from Jackson, Missouri, said she noticed the mold, but at first she didn’t think much about it.
However, Barber said as the semester continued she started to have respiratory problems, which she said were a result of the mold in Springer.
“I have a mold allergy,” Barber said. “The first symptom was a sore throat, then I was sneezing and got really congested. I went to Health Services and told them about it.”
Barber said the nurse at Health Services attributed her symptoms to severe allergies. They gave Barber medicine to alleviate the symptoms.
According to the memo, any questions, comments or concerns should be sent to Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.