By: Connor Pattinson
I am a resident of one of the grossest cesspools of bile, filth and degeneracy any of us have ever experienced. No, I don’t mean Nashville, but I do mean Vanderbilt housing (that isn’t Zeppos or Kissam). I am one of the several hundred poor, unfortunate sons of bitches stuck in Morgan Hall on Vanderbilt’s Highland Quad, or as we have taken to calling it, Ground Zero.
A fellow Morgan Hall son-of-a-bitch and Resident Advisor has been stealing hearts and breaking Vanderbilt Administration’s balls about this issue since his January 19th email detailing the mold situation.
This is my and many other students’ second semester living in Morgan House, and I think we all hope it is our last. But here’s the thing. Even though the RA was the one to get the word out, even though he was the one who sent the emails and contacted the entire dorm and a plethora of other things (which really, kudos, sir, kudos), even the great RA of the almighty Morgan House could not have expected reports of mold all over campus from other students. Now there’s talk of mold in Branscomb and on Commons as well. How dare this toxic and disgusting mold come after our sweet baby freshmen?! They’re just babies. They lay in their cribs, desperately clutching their rattles and pacifiers, hopelessly waiting for the day Vanderbilt will acknowledge this plague as something beyond simple discoloration.
In a time of COVID-19, the flu and, as is always the case on Vanderbilt campus, herpes, no one batted an eye at the rampant sickness across campus last semester. But by the end of the fall semester and the start of this spring semester, we all realized that the symptoms we were showing for weeks at a time probably meant it was not COVID or even Belmont’s unique strand of chlamydia. No, it was something else that was turning Vanderbilt into Tennessee’s number one leper colony. After reports of people coming back from break to the ghost of Cornelius’ bastard son taking toxic, corporeal form, maybe we have to acknowledge that the walls really are trying to kill us. Take that you stupid schizophrenia medication, I knew I wasn’t crazy.
Now let’s be fair, is there a chance that the mold, found all over campus and tested numerous times, could actually just be a simple discoloration on the pipes from natural wear and tear?
No, not really.
But hey, thank god mold only affects five percent of people, right? I mean that’s not correct, but that is what we were told in our email from the Office of Housing and Residential Experience. That’s less than 20 kids in Morgan House! And when you compare what Vanderbilt would have to shell out to fix the mold versus the checks they’ll have to send the kids that have gotten sick , bro it’s just economics! And how many are going to die? Not enough to justify anything other than a decent check to their loved ones and a $12 bouquet for the funeral. At least I can say I finally agree with Vanderbilt on one key issue: fuck asthmatic people. You had your chance.
As much as my bleeding heart libertarian soul wants me to sympathize with the Vanderbilt administration, I still have a hard time agreeing with their arguable press suppression. Stop hushing us up when we talk about mold; we’re louder than you. The Slant’s will-they-won’t-they summertime love squeeze, The Hustler, has published its own article about the mold situation. Sure, it did get taken down for edits so quickly that I had to scrap plans to loosely plagiarize it and call it a satirization to instead write this, but it’ll be back. One way or another, people are going to hear about this, and I think we are handling it far nicer than pissed off parents will. I mean, we only have trust funds and daddy’s credit card, but they have big funds and daddy’s lawyers. Good luck?
But hey, call me out. By all means, prove me wrong. Call in tests from people far smarter and less infected than me. Test the dorms, take samples, send it to the lab and find out exactly what is in the dorms. Take air samples of the many rooms containing residents who have reported feeling ill for extended periods of time along with hard samples of whatever that “discoloration” on the wall is. I would love nothing more than to have to apologize on the behalf of the students once Vanderbilt clears the dorms they force us to live in. Seriously, I am already working on my apology article, but I’ve had my “I told you so” article ready since the first time I checked my fucking vents.