The Fordham Ram

Tierney Struggles with Mold Growth

Mold+continues+to+be+an+issue+in+Tierney+Hall%2C+pictured+above+%28Kevin+Stoltenborg%2FThe+Fordham+Ram%29.
Mold continues to be an issue in Tierney Hall, pictured above (Kevin Stoltenborg/The Fordham Ram).

Mold continues to be an issue in Tierney Hall, pictured above (Kevin Stoltenborg/The Fordham Ram).

Mold continues to be an issue in Tierney Hall, pictured above (Kevin Stoltenborg/The Fordham Ram).


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By Helen Stevenson

Mold continues to be an issue in Tierney Hall, pictured above (Kevin Stoltenborg/The Fordham Ram).

After a series of complaints last semester, Tierney Hall is struggling with mold growth again. According to John Puglisi, associate vice president of Facilities Management, routine inspections and work orders identifying mold related issues started around the third week of September.

Resident Director Lynette Nettrouer reached out to Tierney residents Thursday, Oct. 18, giving advice to avoid mold in the dorm rooms. The tips include clearing objects that block vents, refraining from placing damp items in dark areas and keeping a fan on to reduce condensation.
Students were largely affected when personal property (clothing, books, shoes, etc.) were impacted by mold growth.

“It’s caused damage to people’s personal belongings as well as taken an emotional toll on those living in affected dorms,” said Sarah Jane Lefebvre, FCRH ’21.

However, some people found that the mold did not cause too much of a serious problem.

“The mold was not awful, as it really was only on a pair of my shoes and a couple pairs of my roommate’s, but she was able to wipe down some of them so it was not the worst thing,” said Brennan Sisco, FCRH ’21. “Otherwise, it is more of an ongoing joke that we have mold, rather than a serious fear.”

Puglisi said that the worst of the mold growth is over because mold generally needs a food source, water source and a dark environment to grow. There is a direct relationship between the city’s humidity and the mold issue in Tierney; as the humidity decreases, so will the mold.

“Over the past two weeks, the average relative humidity in the New York City area has dropped below 65 percent which allows the existing ventilation units to handle the moisture in the air and dry out the interior of the building,” he said. “In addition, we expect the building’s masonry exterior to start drying out, helping reduce humidity in the building interior.”

To help decrease the existing mold problem, Facilities Management is providing portable dehumidification and enhanced air filtration for affected spaces, cleaning services and regular check-ins with students who were already affected. Student Affairs is also providing advice about storage of items such as wet footwear and laundry.

“We follow the New York City Department of Health Guidelines for identification and remediation of fungal growth in indoor environments which include decontaminating surfaces, wipe sampling, thorough cleaning of ventilation systems and immediate repairs of water and plumbing issues,” Puglisi said.

Students said that although it is an unfortunate situation, the university has been extremely helpful.

“The university has actually been super helpful in dealing with the issue, especially Tierney’s RD [Lynette Nettrouer],” said Lefebvre. “While the problem seems like it might persist, Fordham seems to be pretty on top of it.”

Students said the university has been communicative and followed up regularly on the issue to ensure all people that live in the dorm are assisted in the best way possible.

“As soon as my roommate first found mold we walked over to public safety to voice our concerns but it was closed so we sent emails. The next day we received not only follow-ups, but phone calls, and an RA even came in to check up on us,” Sisco said. “I am so grateful for all the hard work they have been doing not only for me and my roommate, but also the other students who may or may not be affected by mold, as well.”

To make sure the mold does not return, Puglisi said that ventilation improvements are currently being designed.

“Depending on how intrusive the improvements are, we want to execute the first phase of the project before the next cooling season in May 2019,” he said. “During winter break, we will be thoroughly cleaning the furniture in the identified problem areas of Tierney to make sure any inactive mold is removed.”

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Tierney Struggles with Mold Growth