Tougaloo Students Protest Mold
MS – Specialists take mold, air samples in dorms; college cleaning with disinfectant. About 50 Tougaloo College students stood outside the administration building Wednesday to protest a mold problem in two dorms, officials and students said.
“We decided it’s time out for talking, it’s time for us to do something,” said Tougaloo sophomore Brandi Brame, who helped organize the protest. The idea for the protest came after Brame’s friend developed breathing problems, and her physician said mold could be a factor, she said. Green, black and brown mold grows on window sills, showers and in stairways in A.A. Branch and Renner halls, said the 20-year-old English secondary education major from Chicago. Other students have since come forward who are also ill from the effects of the mold. Many question if disenfectant will aid the problem as it is not a standard protocol for clean-up of hazardous molds.
Exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, acid reflux, skin irritation, fever and shortness of breath with short term exposure. Long term exposure can lead to permanent neurological, pathological, psychological, and immunological damage including Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, and even fertility problems.
Environmental specialists took mold and air samples inside and outside the 34-year-old dorms Wednesday, Tougaloo spokesman Danny Lee Jones said. The results should be back this week or early next week. In the meantime, the college is cleaning the dorms with disinfectant that will kill the mold, he said.
“We absolutely want to assure students and parents that whatever is necessary for us to do in order to make sure that the students are safe, that’s what we’ll do,” Jones said.
About 60 percent of Tougaloo’s approximately 970 students live in four dorms. Tougaloo President Beverly Wade Hogan was in New York City on a fund-raising mission Wednesday but spoke to students via conference call, Jones said.
Faculty and administrators met with students Wednesday night in Woodworth Chapel to discuss their issues. “One of Tougaloo’s founding principles is social commitment, so we encourage our students to voice their concerns,” Jones said. Brame thinks Tougaloo has responded well, she said before the meeting. “They make it seem like they’re really interested in solving the problem.”