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  • Writer's pictureKAIE QUIGLEY

An eight day stay at the Holt Hotel

Graphic by Felipe Bida

At the end of the fall semester, one of my friends told me his girlfriend and her suitemates were moving out of Forest Hall into Holt Hall due to mold. I knew there had been rumblings about mold in the dorms on campus, but I figured it wasn’t a serious problem.

Little did I know, I would soon be in the same situation. Days before I was set to move back into Bragdon Hall for the spring semester, I got an email informing me that over the winter recess, inspection by an outside expert environmental hygienist revealed hidden mold spurs in my suite, and I would have to relocate to Holt for up to two weeks.

I knew a handful of suites had evacuated their dorms before we left campus in December, and I assumed my suite wasn’t the only additional case. However, upon returning I had to pinch myself.

It felt like I was moving in at the start of a new year. The parking lot was full and students were pushing carts, rolling luggage, and carrying fridges into the building one after another. This was a full hall— residents from different corners of campus coming together for two weeks, all expenses paid vacation while the mold remediation took place. Except we weren’t exactly staying at the Ritz.

I found my room tucked in the corner on the first floor behind the kitchen fridge. Instead of a plaque, our room number was painted on the wall. Our common space and natural light were replaced by a bathroom and LEDs, and we had to wear sandals in the shower to avoid stepping in paint chips.

Thankfully, the temporary stay lasted just eight days, as we were cleared to move back into our suites on January 26. Moving back into Bragdon felt like snapping back into reality. My torch card worked again, we had a common room, and I no longer had to wear shoes in the shower.

In the aftermath, there was little pushback when displaced students called for compensation. Many of the students' living situations, including my own, cost more than the rooms we were relocated into; either traditional residence halls or houses. Therefore, a refund was given to students to make up the difference.

Despite the frustration and inconvenience the situation caused, I can’t think of how the university could have handled it better. With a finite amount of available housing and resources, and a vast number of students displaced, there weren’t many other plausible solutions.

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