Hanson Residents Will Receive $250 Compensation Due to Mold

Hanson Hall (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

Hanson Hall (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

By Benjamin Pontz, Managing News Editor

Residents of Hanson Hall, a first-year residence hall affected by mold that is currently being remediated, will receive $250 in compensation to “defray the costs of relocation and cleaning,” Associate Dean of College Life for Residential and First-Year Programs Keira Kant said in an email to Hanson Hall residents Monday morning.

“While I realize this may not be the outcome that some students were expecting based on the initial scope of the issue, this compensation is in recognition of the challenges that have come with this process for all residents and is intended to defray any incidental costs you have or may incur as a result,” Kant said.

Hanson residents will not, however, receive any preference in the sophomore housing lottery, which was initially under consideration and mentioned to residents of the basement, where the mold issue was first discovered. After the college decided that the entire building required cleaning during the semester, it was determined that no Hanson residents will receive housing lottery preference.

An email sent by Kant to residents of the Hanson basement, where mold was first discovered, on Jan. 24 indicated that those basement residents would receive priority in the housing lottery, but that calculus changed after mold was determined to be in need of remediation on the first, second, and third floors, Jamie Yates, Executive Director of Communications and Media Relations told The Gettysburgian last week.

“I think the girls from the basement deserve to have a boost in the lottery,” said Julia Chin ’21, who lives on the second floor of Hanson. “They had to move across campus as soon as school started, and most got split up from their roommates.”

Yates said in an email late Tuesday that the $250 compensation was in recognition of the mold’s effect on students.

“We understand the remediation project in Hanson is impacting residents in different ways including some added costs for students,” she said. “Our intention is to assist with defraying some of the unexpected costs and inconvenience experienced by Hanson residents. While the costs incurred by each student may vary, we believe $250 is a reasonable amount.”

The total cost of compensating the building’s roughly 158 residents is about $40,000. Yates said this allocation will not affect the Office of Residential and First-Year Programs’ budget or programs, stating only that the college has identified a source of funding for the remediation project in response to a question about the source of funds.

“I think it’s great the college decided to take action and compensate us for the mold issues we’ve had in the dorm,” said Michael Schuler ’21. “While getting a higher housing lottery number seems the ideal solution for the problem, I can see where it kind of destroys the whole reward behind earning CYC [Charting Your Course, the first-year extended orientation program] credits and obtaining a high GPA for people outside of Hanson.”

Not all students approve of the college’s handling of the situation.

“I’m mad at the fact that we had to move in such a short notice, and I heard mold was an issue before from people living there in the past. It wasn’t until someone got sick that they became concerned,” said Mariam Martinez ’21, who lived in the basement last semester.

While the college was unable to confirm any medical issues arising from the mold due to privacy issues, The Gettysburgian has heard from multiple students who claim to have experienced symptoms consistent with mold allergies as well as students who lived in Hanson Hall last year that indicated personal property was damaged by mold.

On that front, at Monday evening’s Student Senate meeting, Senator Abby Hauer ’21 said that she is aware of students who discarded items totaling a greater value than $250 due to the effects of mold.

In response, Student Senate President Luke Frigon said, “The college should pay you back,” and referred the item to the Senate Opinions Committee for further discussion.

Yates said the college will not compensate anyone beyond the $250 allocated to each Hanson resident, suggesting that personal items may be covered under personal insurance.

Staff Writer Maddie Neiman contributed to this report.

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Author: Benjamin Pontz

Benjamin Pontz '20 served as Editor-in-Chief of The Gettysburgian from 2018 until 2020, Managing News Editor from 2017 until 2018, News Editor in the spring of 2017, and Staff Writer during the fall of 2016. During his tenure, he wrote 232 articles. He led teams that won two first place Keystone Press Awards for ongoing news coverage (once of Bob Garthwait's resignation, and the other of Robert Spencer's visit to campus) and was part of the team that wrote a first-place trio of editorials in 2018. He also received recognition for a music review he wrote in 2019. A political science and public policy major with a music minor, he graduated in May of 2020 and will pursue a master's degree in public policy on a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Manchester before enrolling in law school.

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