Special Commentary: Housing office shouldn’t have neglected students in Maya

by Gianna Wood

Here is how the Maya mold situation happened. It all started one day in the beginning of December when a pair of girls moved out of their dorms because they found large amounts of mold in their rooms. Leading many of us to search our rooms for mold.

Members from the housing department came by a few days before to check rooms on the north side of the hall, but they never told us what they were looking for initially. So once we discovered there was mold in all the rooms on the north side my roommate and I became concerned because the air vents are all connected. Knowing that mold can become airborne, my roommate began to worry about our health and well-being. We began to piece together why we seemed to always have this odd cough when we were in the dorms.

My roommate and I went to the housing administration and put in a room switch request. The next day, housing sent a third party to test the mold in rooms.My roommate and I later found a black substance next to our air conditioner unit, so when the third party came to test the other rooms, I asked if it was possible for them to examine mine. But, I was told that because my room wasn’t on the invoice, I had to go through the whole process of making a service request on the housing portal — so I did.

For the next two weeks, we contacted the housing office trying to get the status of the tests conducted and when we were going to be moved. I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously by the housing administration and their staff.

What was even more irritating was that some people I went to the housing office with had their parents complain and threaten to sue the school for their lack of action — that very night those people were moved to South Campus Plaza.

I returned to the housing administration because my roommate and I were the only ones not given a phone call about moving, even though we were the first ones to put in a room switch request. So there I was again with another group of people demanding answers.

The office stated that there were no available rooms in South Campus Plaza for us to move into.

However, when one pair of girls had a parent call and threaten to sue once again those girls were moved into a room in South Campus Plaza that night. How is that possible if housing stated there were no rooms amiable just five hours before?

It seems the housing administration repeatedly lied to us.

All of this happened just two weeks before finals week. I missed three classes of final review prep just so I could talk to members of housing to get the issue resolved.

I ended up speaking to the president of housing directly. I repeatedly emailed him how frustrated the residents of Maya were. On the last day before finals, there were three pairs of girls who were still looking to be moved because everyone else had already been moved to South Campus Plaza. My roommate and I were one of those three pairs.

When it came time for housing to offer us alternate rooms, they claimed they offered them by alphabetical order. My roommate and I were offered a room in Olmeca together, or the choice to be placed in other halls without being roommates any longer.

This was my breaking point. I felt like I invested so much time into the process for nothing. I filled out the paperwork like housing asked and yet my roommate and I got the short end of the stick.

So, I called my parents and told them the situation. I went to the housing president’s office still on the phone with my parents. The president kept claiming this was all the office could do — that my roommate and I should wait until second semester and be at the top of the waiting list to move into South Campus Plaza.

Housing had people come in to take care of the infestation. They didn’t tell us that these men were going to be painting and spraying these rooms with chemicals in full hazmat suits.

I kept thinking that I wouldn’t want to come back to San Diego State if this was going to be the way I was constantly being treated by a department that is tasked with making sure I live in a safe environment.

I got a call over break saying there was a room available for my roommate and I in South Campus Plaza. I emailed asking if there was going to be a red bin such as the  ones available on move in day to help facilitate an easier move for us. To this day I haven’t received an email back from housing. My roommate and I had to move out on our own even though others were offered a moving bin. I am grateful that I was able to leave Maya, but I still think housing could have handled the situation drastically different.

Gianna Wood is a freshman studying psychology.