UPDATED: Mould found in Luther College residence


Originally posted on U of R Confessions

Author: john loeppky – contributor

Exposure to black mould can pose serious health risks. / Haley Klassen

Exposure to black mould can pose serious health risks. / Haley Klassen

Updated Nov. 5 3:30 p.m, 2014: The Carillon has received a letter from Mark Duke, the Director of Finance at Luther College, informing us that “Luther College is happy to confirm that the results of the air quality inspection referred to in the article found no black mold in the Luther Residence.” According to the letter, Luther carried out the measures recommended by Calibre Home Inspection. See below for the original article.

Residence, a sanctuary for young students to work, read, learn, and sleep. And it is, for some. While each of the residences has had their fair share of issues, a new problem was recently uncovered at Luther College, thanks to a since-removed anonymous post on the University of Regina Confessions Facebook page. Said post, accompanied by an image of what the writer claimed was evidence to support their claim, has sparked some debate as to the health and safety risks associated with living on campus.

To try to help shed light on the situation, the Carillon spoke to Luther’s manager of alumni relations, development and communications, Michelle Clark, about how the situation has been handled.

“A couple of weeks ago, we had investigated a complaint of mould. Upon inspection, there was a small amount found and it was immediately treated and fixed.”

As for the amount that was present, she described it as: “specks of mould that were one eighth of an inch, and they were in patches about the size of an average man’s palm of about sixteen to thirty two inches.”

As for what happened after the issue was first tackled, Clark says, “we did consult with the student in question and she was happy with the treatment and was satisfied. At that point, we also decided to inspect other rooms that were in close proximity to see if there was a similar situation.”

Other students on campus also feel that the situation was well handled. Audray-Anne Montpetit, a fourth-year student and Luther residence assistant said, “Luther handled it really well. The results [of an air quality test] showed negative for any other instance of mould.”

As for how Luther is looking to continue to monitor the situation, Clark says that their treatment of the problem is ongoing, “There is no concern of mould in Luther College, but we thought that, just to be absolutely certain, we brought in an independent and accredited agency that the University of Regina had used in the past to do an air quality test.”

The company, Calibre Home Inspection, reports on their website to have completed over five thousand evaluations in the areas of “Residential home inspections for pre-purchase and seller’s inspections, new construction inspections, pre-closing/deficiency inspections, apartment/multifamily unit inspections, commercial/retail, and office inspections” since their inception in 1999.

On their involvement in the current situation on campus, Clark said “upon their initial visual inspection, they found no mould, but they did conduct air quality and physical tests and we should receive an official report in seven to ten days. We have remained in constant contact with the students during this entire process to just make sure that they are up to date and to answer any questions that they may have.”

This begs the question, how do other students feel about the current situation and have they, in fact, been contacted by the administration? Craig Dunham, a resident of Luther for the past three years, said “I’ve heard a lot about it; there’s been talk of one person who has had black mould in their room. There’s been enough talk about mould and it is in an old enough building. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some health concerns.”

He notes that he hasn’t felt at risk for any health issues stemming from his time at Luther.

“You never really worry about something like that until [it happens]. It’s really the last thing you would suspect.”

The age of the university’s building is also a concern for Ravinesh Sakaran, a College West resident who has had problems in the past.

“I’ve had pest control problems before in my room.”

When asked about the response time when the incident occurred, the political science major said, “Almost immediately, [Residence Services] had someone come in and check. They put up mouse traps; the response time is fast. The people at the residence office are really helpful, but I think that the building is old and that these kinds of buildings tend to have these kinds of problems.”

It seems that students at the university, at least those we spoke to, have had no issues with the response of the university when it comes to issues surrounding their living arrangements. So, how did the staff at Luther respond and how were those affected supported, both then and now?

In her answer, Ms. Clark highlighted Luther’s response to the affected individual’s case.

“When the first complaint did first come in, she was offered another room that could be used, which she declined. During the entire process, the offer still remains open to the student.”

It is also important to note that, as of the writing of this article, no other mould-related complaints have been filed with the staff of Luther.

Should the official report come back with results that contradict the initial visual inspection, the official word is that the college will have to sort through its options.

“Right now, we have no evidence of mould, but if it is the case, we will have to assess what the next step should be, so we are waiting for the report to come in from the agency.”

Clark went on to highlight the main concern of the college.

“Again, we have no concerns of mould, but we are officially waiting for the report.”

All in all, this is a situation with many facets: an individual who chose to voice their frustrations on a web page specializing in anonymous postings; a residence that, at least first glance, seems to have done their due diligence; and a student body that, while affected by residence-based issues, seems largely unaware of the situation.

Given the time-sensitive nature of this matter, we at the Carillon will continue to investigate this story and report on the results of Calibre Home Inspection’s investigation when they become available.

Full disclosure: Ravi Sakaran is a frequent contributor to the Carillon.

Comments are closed.