University of Minnesota confirms ‘fungal growth’ in freshman dorms

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota confirmed it had collected samples of “fungal growth” inside some freshman dorm vents after students raised concerns about their health.

A spokeswoman said in a statement that the school’s environmental health and safety department continued to inspect at 17 Avenue Residence Hall on Wednesday and student housing staff were “working directly with students.” affected staff regarding temporary relocation options.”

Natalie Heer, a freshman living in a dorm, heard rumors of potential mold from other residents in the building, prompting her to check her vents.

“I was just amazed when I looked inside,” she said. “Looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since the building was built.”


Natalie Heer

Heer explains that she has been feeling ill for weeks, and is now concerned that the air circulating in the room is harming her health. She said she went to an eye clinic last week for “really red, watery and irritated eyes”, but doctors were unable to determine the cause. Her illness has affected her studies.

Then on Wednesday, Heer said she called the university’s nurse line, which allows students to call 24/7 and describe her symptoms.

“[The nurse] Heer, who is planning to have the blood tests, said they are consistent with mold exposure and mold toxicity. . “

The university said a full building inspection report would be released in the coming days.

Heer’s friend down the hall, Julio Rojas said he felt sick with similar symptoms — and found the same fungus inside his vent. He returned home to Eagan, where a doctor treated him for an upper respiratory infection, he said, and after feeling sick again upon returning to campus, he returned. clinic on Wednesday afternoon.

He said: “I was really scared because the doctor told me that we should detect the disease at an early stage, because if it gets worse, it can have a bad effect on our health. I.

The university is appealing to 17th Avenue students who think they may have the same fungus in their rooms. to contact student housing. In a statement, the university said “removal work” would begin on Thursday in the affected areas, including deep cleaning and the application of “a special paint on top of the fiber insulation.” glass designed to prevent future fungal growth.”

“Inspections will continue in any area requested by students, even if there is no apparent growth,” a spokesperson wrote in an email. “Once the necessary repairs are completed, additional on-site inspections will be conducted throughout the building.”

Roommates Sydney Schomaker and Caroline Nelson have their vents checked and they clear, but they say they have friends who have infected vents and are feeling sick. Nelson is scared because of his asthma.

“It’s been a week and still no one has found it and we haven’t heard much about it, which is worrying,” she said. “Now it’s more of a health issue. We’re just scared.”

The dormitory was built in 2013 and houses 600 freshmen. Semester tuition to live there is more expensive than other hostels, according to the student housing website.


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