CBS 17’s investigation continues as problems still plague buildings at St. Augustine’s

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh is admitting a mold problem once deemed by school officials as a “non-issue” has been cleaned up.

CBS 17 began investigating Jan. 14 after receiving complaints from students and families. While the mold problem has been corrected, students say there are several other issues with on-campus housing.

The school said the boiler in the high rise Latham Hall Dorm stopped working last Thursday. Contractors said it’ll be sometime next week before its fixed.

But before the boiler failed, students complained about mold in that dorm. One student said made him sick.

“It caused inflammation in my chest and lungs and made me cough up bad fluids,” said Traevon Brown. “I was sick for about two weeks.”

He provided CBS 17 with a document showing he was treated in the emergency room for a viral upper-respiratory infection which the hospital said could have been the result of allergies to mold in his dorm room, the respiratory infection, or simply a combination of both.

“I had to use an inhaler for about three weeks,” he said.

When CBS 17 first began reporting in January on issues of microbial growth in dorms on campus, the school denied there was any mold problem in dorms on campus.

School spokesman Eric Curry downplayed it, saying in a Jan. 15 email: “The University deems this story to be a non-issue.” He also claimed the pictures CBS 17 used in its report were “of mildew and dirt.”

But, in a video provided to CBS 17 by a student, a school administrator can be seen and heard talking about the mold issue during a meeting with students of Latham Hall Wednesday night.

“We had the hurricane come through,” said Vice President Dr. Steven Hairston. “We had the mold issue. We tried to address that as soon as we could.”

Hours after CBS 17 reported on that meeting, the school sent out a press release saying the same thing; as a result of Hurricane Florence, the university discovered microbial growth in stairwells at Latham Hall.

The university even used images from the report to illustrate the problem.

The school said it hired Raleigh Mold Inspection and Remediation to deal with the microbial growth.

The school’s Chief Operating Officer sent photos of the clean-up work in progress, saying “Bio Barrier mold preventative” was applied to the walls, which were later painted.

In its statement, the school said “our contractors have addressed this matter and continue to work with us on renovating additional student living and learning spaces,”

But CBS 17 had more questions.

Past reports revealed an issue in Falkcrest Apartments. The Raleigh Fire Department said the school’s director of housing plunged through a portion of the first floor into a crawl space about four feet below.

CBS 17 also reported on mold issues reported by a former student in the Weston Hall dorm.

CBS 17 wanted to know specifically how the school is going to deal with those problems.

In her email, COO Dr. Sandye Wilson said she’d answer the questions. But, when consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia spoke with her on the phone, she said she was in a meeting and would get back to him.

He’s still waiting. 

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