Mold and broken ACs in UOG dorm halls prompt response from university

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Guam – For some UOG students, the island’s heat and humidity is more than just an inconvenience.

On Wednesday PNC revealed that dormitory residents at the University of Guam have allegedly been suffering for months inside the concrete building without air conditioners — an uncomfortable situation further compounded by the public health risks of the accompanying mold and condensation.

Shortly after 9:00 o’clock Wednesday morning, PNC was tipped off about a hazardous violation at the University of Guam’s dormitories. Upon visiting the Mangilao campus that afternoon, PNC spoke with a couple of students, as well as two residential assistants, about the months-long suffering the students say they have endured.

Beginning in August, students have presumably paid for dorms with AC, only to be stuck in rooms without them. A review of UOG’s housing rates shows that it costs $189 more for a double occupancy room per semester and $378 dollars more for a single occupancy if a student opts for a room with air conditioning. Anyone familiar with the island’s hot and humid weather would understand the hike in rent associated with air-conditioning costs.

One student told PNC that UOG rules prohibit his dorm in particular from opening the door on the balcony, as it is a safety concern. Another student, allowed PNC to enter his dorm, and while there is an AC unit in the room, it hasn’t been operational since August. With numerous fans and a propped window, this particular student mentioned that his room got so hot last night that he went to sleep in the Lounge area. He also disclosed that his girlfriend, who stays in an adjacent dorm, suffers from asthma and has a hard time breathing in the dorms. They both have been paying for rooms with AC but have been without  cooling units for months. They have been waiting patiently for repairs, a replacement unit, or simply for the UOG Administration to hear their cries for a livable dorm.

Due to the immense heat, as well as the humidity on Guam, numerous clusters of mold have developed on ceilings and carpets in the residence facility. These patches presumably continue to form throughout the building as students patiently wait for their pleas to be heard.

PNC met with pertinent UOG representatives regarding the matter, and the university agreed to provide a written statement.

The emailed statement from UOG Director of Integrated Marketing Communications Jonas Macapinlac is reproduced below:

“Some students in one of the Residence Halls have been dealing with air-conditioning problems since the start of the semester. Interim solutions have led to new problems with condensation and mold issues. Once students made the University aware of the mold issues this week, the administration authorized the immediate implementation of a contract to replace the air-conditioning units and for the industrial cleaning of any mold from the affected rooms. In the meantime, the students will be temporarily relocated to rooms at the other residence hall buildings. We are moving forward as quickly as possible.

We are working to meet these most immediate needs of our resident students, and we are grateful for their patience and their honesty in dealing with this untenable situation. The well-being and success of our students is our greatest responsibility, and we are doing everything in our power to address these issues.

We continue to communicate our progress with the resident students and to reiterate the University’s support.”

UOG’s dorms host students from Micronesia (Guam, Rota, Tinian, Saipan, Palau, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Marshall Islands), as well as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Europe, and the United States mainland.