Mold issue sickens group of St. John's sophomores

Nina Pineda Image
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

HILLCREST, Queens (WABC) -- Fuzzy white mold covers the inside of the main AC unit at a dorm suite at Century Hall on St John's Queens campus.

It doesn't stop there - each of the four bedrooms shared between the college sophomores is growing its own set of funky mildew.

"It's disgusting," sophomore Anj Fashanu said. "They've (St. John's residential director) known since Thursday. It's now Wednesday. It's been a week."

Fashanu emailed 7 On Your Side pictures of the problem, after she says her mom complained to the school, but no one came to clean the funky fungus.

"I need real professionals to come in the room and take care of it," Fashanu said. "I have 18 credits. I don't want to get sick. I'm here to focus on education, not the mold."

Four of the seven girls in the suite have a cough, which is one of the symptoms of mold contamination, along with sneezing and irritated eyes.

"I wake up in the morning and just feel gross," student Gina Cavuto said.

When the sophomore said she heard from seniors who endured the mold in the same dorm years ago, she sent an SOS to 7 On Your Side via the abc7NY app.

"I just feel like everyone is sitting on it," she said. "No one is taking action. Hopefully by doing this, someone will take action."

7 On Your Side contacted resident services at the private university after seeing the mold.

Minutes later, their suite was stuffed with guys in suits, facility services and an environmental health and safety official.

"We apologize if you didn't get the response you should have got," the university official said.

Within a few hours, all the mold was gone.

"Due to the recent humid weather conditions in the region, some incidents of surface mold have been reported by students living on our Queens campus," St. John's University spokesperson Brian Browne said. "Our first priority is the well-being and safety of our students, and we have protocols and procedures in place for mold remediation. These procedures include preventative maintenance and, when present, cleaning of the affected areas. The surface mold that was recently reported was identified and has been eliminated to the students' satisfaction. We are coordinating with all resident students on campus to visit and inspect every room in the residence halls for the presence of any surface mold. We are also reminding resident students and residence life staff of the appropriate processes to report concerns about housing conditions."

The big takeaway is if you find mold in your apartment, first thing to do is take pictures of the problem. You should take both close ups and longer shots that show where the problem is. Then, send the pictures with an explanation of the problem to your landlord with a request for immediate remediation. This will put them on notice to do something.

If you're suffering from health problems as a result of mold exposure, see a doctor and get a doctor's note if they think the mold is causing the symptoms.



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