UVA residents complain about pest, mold problems, despite recent renovations

The University Village Apartments underwent renovations in summer 2016, but students are still complaining of mold and an “infestation” a year later.


Alexander Rodriguez

Front entrance sign to University Village Apartments.

Nate Nkumbu, Contributing Writer

Jillian Marsh awoke one morning at her place in University Village Apartments. As the junior multimedia journalism major began to prepare her breakfast, she was unpleasantly surprised.

“I went to the fridge to go get some cream cheese,” Marsh said. “I open it, get the cream cheese out and there’s this dead baby roach inside it.”

Housing director Tracy Cunningham said housing has received pest complaints and that they encourage students to keep their apartments clean and free of debris in order to reduce the risk of roaches and other pests.

Despite renovations taking place in summer 2016, students living in UVA are still claiming that their apartments suffer from mold and pest problems and have been even before they moved in.

Some believe that their complaints aren’t taken seriously.

Junior communication major Bailey Talkington said that there was mold in her bathroom’s ceiling when she moved in. Joe Pye | News Editor

Marsh said that she’s received notes in December 2016 from the maintenance crew three times that her apartment wasn’t clean.

“I was mad about that because it felt like I was getting blamed for something that wasn’t my fault,” she said. “I got those notes three times. I went to housing and told them about my situation but they got annoyed and didn’t believe what I was saying.”

Her parents bought boric acid and Raid insecticide to deal with her roach problem, but the use of the pesticide made her so uncomfortable that she slept at her friend’s place for a few days.

It wasn’t until after multiple complaints from Marsh that maintenance came and applied a temporary pesticide, which lasts about three months.

Junior communication major Bailey Talkington claimed that it was the same situation when she addressed an issue about mold in her apartment’s bathroom, which she said was there when she moved in. According to the junior, maintenance took their time responding to her request to fix the problem, saying that it was a matter of cleanliness.

“They’ll say, ‘That’s not our fault there’s mold in the ceiling or that’s a cleanliness issue and that’s your fault for not being clean,’” she said. “I get that if you don’t clean regularly, then you have mold in the dorm and it’s your fault but if you clean regularly and there’s mold on the ceiling, then that’s not a cleanliness issue, there’s something wrong with the building itself.”

She claims to have never experienced this kind of maintenance or bug problem before moving to UVA in August 2016. Talkington added that she’s previously lived in Glades Park Towers and shared an apartment with her boyfriend.

Junior psychology major Phillip Mitchell Jr. said that he’s also had an issue with mold in his apartment.

“The shower curtains were moldy when we got here, so we had to clean and replace them,” he said. “There’s other things, like the toaster oven was dirty and had food residue at the bottom. It was there when my roommate and I first moved in.”

Mitchell Jr. said that he sees insects in his apartment every day.

Phillip Mitchell Jr., a psychology major and a resident of UVA said that his dorm room was dirty even before moving in for the first time. Joe Pye | news Editor

“You’ll see ants and roaches sometimes in my room, sometimes spiders as well,” Mitchell said. “In my dorm there is a small hole that looks like the ants ate away at.”

He added that he and his roommate have had to use two bug bombs to get rid of a roach and an ant infestation in the past.

Housing director Cunningham said that getting an exterminator depends on the time and how severe the infestation is.

“We follow the recommendation and protocol of the pest control service. If the issue requires students to vacate the area, instructions like cleaning their belongings before taking it to the temporary room are provided to the students,” Cunningham said. “Once it is determined that there is no longer a pest issue, the students are notified and return to their room.”

Before the summer renovations, former housing director Larry Faerman said, “It is a practice of the Department of Housing and Residential Life to close each of our facilities every few summers to do necessary repairs and renovations that are difficult to accomplish while students are residing there.”

The University Press reported that students were concerned about insect problems in April 2016.

“There’s a large insect problem at UVA. You often see them inside your dorm,” senior double major in English and multimedia journalism Ashley Oge said. “There was also an issue with a hole in my dorm’s bathroom. Rain water often leaks through.”

Junior communication major Stefanie Satucci, who used to live at UVA, resided off campus at the time. Although she said she didn’t know about the renovations, she wasn’t surprised.

“UVA has a big insect problem, especially with cockroaches,” she said. “Not a lot of my friends feel safe there.”

According to FAU biological sciences instructor Evelyn Marques Frazier, building design, food source and climate all come into factor when dealing with roaches. This becomes important when pest control has to fumigate a building.

“When exterminators come, put up a tent and start fumigating, they kill any adult roach outside of protection of the building wall,” she said. “But if the pesticides don’t reach past the wall where the eggs are, then you have the same problem all over again and you have to spend more money to get rid of them because roaches reproduce rapidly.”

Talkington said that she feels as if “UVA is lowest on the totem pole” because FAU doesn’t put effort into full renovations.

“My personal view is that the people that live here don’t have a lot of money because if you did, you’d live at IVA or off campus,” she said. “So with that being said, the people at UVA aren’t going to complain as much because it is what it is. That’s how I think FAU gets away with this place being on the low scale.”


Nate Nkumbu is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @FoureyedNate.