SAE speaks out about maintenance concerns


Photo courtesy of Lewis Cox

by Taylor Williams, Social Media Editor

It’s the time of the year Residence Life starts reviewing the budget for next year where staff will be evaluating the funds allocated towards improvements on campus.

Members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) hope their current heating and cooling system will make the cut.

Their current heating and cooling system has continued to assist in the spread of mildew and mold throughout their house in several rooms, air conditioning units, window blinds, light fixtures, and more.

SAE President Jake Stoulil said, “The heating and cooling system does not have a way to regulate moisture and this has been a known issue for three years. Without the system being able to regulate moisture, mold and mildew will continue to come back.”

Members of the fraternity found the mold when they moved back into the house last fall.

“We noticed the humidity was very high and mildew was growing everywhere, including on some of our member’s shoes,” Stoulil said. “Prior to move-in, mildew was completely covering our floors.”

The mold was cleaned prior to move-in. SAE is diligent in reporting maintenance issues as they come up within the house.

Konner Johnson, Community Advisor and Social Chair of SAE said, “Most issues will be fixed within a day or two.”

At the beginning of the fall semester, Simpson placed one dehumidifier on each floor to remove moisture from the air in SAE.

“They also will clean mold slash mildew when work orders are placed,” Stoulil said. “However, we believe that the dehumidifier and the cleaning have just been Band-Aids to a bigger problem and not a fix.”

Mold and mildew are not the only problems they’ve encountered living at SAE.

Johnson recalled recently having heating issues due to the harsh weather conditions. “Our heat went out when the temperature hit -25,” Johnson said. “It was fixed that night.”

They have also had their hot water go out multiple times this school year. It has been fixed within one or two days of reporting the issue.

Although maintenance is quick to respond to their issues, the problem is far from being solved.

“Everything with regards to the hot water and heat going out have been fixed. However, the system that is causing the mold to grow has not been fixed. Simpson will clean the mold that is existing, but it just grows back,” Stoulil said.

Stoulil is concerned about the uncertainty what health problems can occur living in such conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects.”

Some people are more sensitive to mold than others.

“For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation,” the CDC explains. “People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions.”

Johnson is worried about several people living in the house.

“A number of people in the house suffer from allergies and the idea that the air coming out of our vents could be causing this is scary,” he said.  

Lewis Cox, Health and Safety Chair of SAE remarked, “the safety of our members is the utmost priority and we are willing to collaborate with Simpson to make sure that everyone here feels safe.”

Stoulil recognizes their current living situation is not the best and there is still a lot of work to be done, but this problem is not unique to Greek Life.

“We think that this is an issue with all campus housing,” Stoulil said. “We believe the reason that these issues exist is because Simpson does not place a high priority on updating and maintaining housing for students.”

While Simpson has done its best to keep living conditions ideal for students, there is still room for improvement.

“I think they could do a better job fixing issues they know exist,” Stoulil explained. “Simpson has been aware over the past three years that our heating and cooling system does not take moisture out of the air and that mold and mildew will continue to grow back until this heating and cooling system is updated.”

SAE will not give up on their fight for a new heating and cooling system and has even brought in outside sources to inspect the problem.

“We have brought in an inspector to look at our house. He recommended air tests be conducted.” Johnson said. “Simpson has been involved with this process and we think the solution is to work in accordance with them instead of against them.”