AUC dormitories

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This story comes to you via a teacher(s) relating the story to me last semester, summer 2010.  What you should know in advance is that John A is a first semester who has Asthma and first semesters are given preference to stay in the Dorms next to the school.

When John first came to AUC (American University of the Caribbean) he was really excited to be in the Caribbean, because warm weather is generally good for your Asthma.  He was excited to enter Medical school and he was nervous about classes, just like any first semester at AUC.  John was also planning , like most of his peers, to move into the Dorms and had informed Housing that he suffered from Atopic Asthma.

Before John’s first Block exams (a group of exams all taken in short succession), he knew that there was something really wrong with his dorm room.  He found it hard to sleep and hard to study even after leaving the room, because his asthma/allergies were acting up all day.  After looking around his dorm room, he found mold around the air conditioning duct and suspected that his asthma problem was from mold in his room.  He reported this to housing but was told that it could not be mold, that Housing staff cleaned out the air vents/dorms and that they did an excellent job in cleaning the rooms.

As his problems persisted, John consulted his faculty advisor.  His faculty advisor spoke to the head of our Microbiology Department, Dr. Schupe, along with another professor, Dr. Lehman.  They decided to check to check out the validity of the students claims and took several agar plates into his room for a few minutes each.  The plates were cultured over night to produce several very vital strains of mold.

Dr. Schupe and Dr. Lehman wrote a letter on John’s behalf to the Deans (Dr. Testa and Dr. Stroschein) along with Housing to have his room changed immediately due to the high titers of several molds which could potentially be life threatening for him.  The response to this letter was the suggestion from Housing to move John to another room for one week, clean his original room out, and then put John back in his old room.  John was severely dismayed at this and his faculty advisor spoke on his behalf that this was not an acceptable option.  Basically, it would be unlikely that so much mold could be cleaned out in one week and more importantly, it would be severely time-consuming and harmful to his studies for John to have to move back and forth several times over the course of his first few weeks!

At this point and for a several weeks after his first complaint, John was still in the same dorm room and considering a legal intervention.  Fortunately, the school’s lawyer intervened first.  John was given a new room for the rest of the semester.  It was checked out first by Dr. Schupe/Dr. Lehman for mold.  Overall, neither the Housing department or the administration was effective in addressing this students very important concerns.  It required the school’s lawyer to intervene in the interest of preventing possible legal damages to get John the services/room he paid for.