Senate Calls on Facilities to Test for Mold in Residencies

by Stephen DiFiore

Members of the Student Senate meet in the Presidential Conference Room in the Student Services Building. (Photo by Stephen DiFiore)

The Student Senate unanimously approved a resolution, which would request Facilities to test for mold during routine Health and Safety Inspections. The resolution was sponsored by Senators Jessica Gambino (Neu) and Andrew Tatar (LAS).

The resolution “request[s] reassurance that mold will not affect the safety and health of the student body in any academic building, facility, residence hall or apartment and request the Office of Facilities Management to proactively test for mold during Health and Safety Inspections each semester.”

The resolution called for Facilities to use both air and surface testing to test for the presence of mold during these inspections.

Gambino started working on the resolution after Nico Santamorena, a resident of the Olde, recorded the rapid growth of mold in their apartment.

“I have a severe mold allergy and it’s been making my Lyme disease worse,” Santamorena said in an Open Forum post. “I’ve been so sick for the last week and a half.”

Gambino said that her proposal would increase accountability between Facilities and the residents.

“If there’s any visible mold,” Gambino said, “Facilities has to check it.”

While the resolution cannot require that Facilities perform these mold tests, Tatar said that it is still important for student representatives to articulate this issue to the department. “It’s pleading for Facilities to prioritize it more than they already have,” Tatar said.

Officer in charge Dennis Craig was skeptical of additional mold tests when the issue was discussed at a previous meeting. He said that mold tests can be inaccurate and that the presence of mold can rapidly change with a change of weather or moisture in the air.

For Gambino, something has to be done. “It’s just a mess in all the apartments,” she said.

Should Facilities refuse to consider the recommendations, Senate Chair Teresa Wheeler said that the Senate could take additional action, such as a censure, a vote of no confidence, or potentially getting the Department of Health involved.

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PSGA Bylaws (August 2018), Student Bill of Rights, Section B. Freedom of Speech, Press and Inquiry

Neither the student government nor any faculty or administrative person or board shall make a rule or regulation or take any action which abridges students’ freedom of speech, press or inquiry, as guaranteed Constitutional rights as citizens of the United States. Students of the campus are guaranteed:

  1.  the right to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, and to express opinion privately and publicly;

  2. the right to learn in the spirit of free inquiry;

  3. the right to be informed of the purposes of all research in which they are expected or encouraged to participate either as subject or researcher;

  4. the right to freedom from censorship in campus newspapers and other media 

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