• Beth & Tim Manners

Mice & Mold: Some Dorms Are Health Risks

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

The New York Times: “Enduring less-than-ideal living conditions is something of a rite of passage for many college students. While the cost of higher education keeps rising, though, outpacing inflation every year since 1985, maintenance of student dormitories at many institutions has not always kept up. In interviews and exchanges with dozens of students across the country, heating and cooling issues were the most frequent complaints. But some reported much more serious problems, including vermin and mold … Some students are speaking up, taking to social media to expose disrepair that they said their schools were failing to promptly address. They have set up Facebook pages and Instagram profiles to vent about or make light of campus issues large and small.”


“On the Instagram account @georgetown.hotmess, created by Georgetown students in 2016, scrolling through the photos can feel like a visit to a dystopian ruin, not a picturesque Gothic-revival university in Washington. Ceilings are collapsing. Black mold is growing on walls. Rodents, both dead and alive, make several appearances. A young man tries to belly-slide down a flooded hallway … Georgetown spokeswoman, Meghan Dubyak, pointed out that last year was Washington’s wettest on record, and that the university had ‘initiated proactive steps to prevent mold and promptly respond to all reported cases within two business days.’ She added that the Georgetown board of directors had recently allocated $75 million to improve campus infrastructure, with a focus on student residences.”


“Few students move into their dorms expecting ideal conditions. Some said they felt they should simply accept the conditions they found, rather than appear ungrateful for the privilege of attending college. While plenty of students defect for off-campus apartments, the units that students on a budget can afford may not be any better maintained than the dorms. And some universities do not give students the choice, requiring them to live on campus for their first year or longer.”

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