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Morris College stung with $55 million class action lawsuit for mold

Morris College faces class-action lawsuit for on-going mold issue -Provided

On Wednesday, a class action lawsuit was filed against Morris College, a private historically black college located in Sumter.

Charleston attorney, John Harrell is representing five former and current students who live or lived in the school’s dormitories.

According to the lawsuit, there is an awful and deadly problem with toxic mold infestation that has caused several students to be hospitalized. Some cases so severe that students had to drop out for health reasons.

Of those filing the lawsuit, two are former students from the university while three are freshman living in on-campus housing.

The college has five residential buildings on campus: two for females, two for males, and one assigned as needed.

According to the lawsuit, students lived in the following conditions:

  • toxic mold in the walls, floors, vents, and ceilings
  • leaking and clogged plumbing
  • accumulation of water in the bathrooms resulting from clogged bathroom plumbing
  • defective electrical outlets
  • electrical wiring
  • holes in walls and window frames that resulted in drafts making environmental temperature control difficult and an unhealthy level of moisture incapable of control

The suit also alleges that the unsafe living conditions were addressed to the former president in 2013 and students were assured that the issue would be taken care of, however, four years later, the issue remains unresolved.

The school's interim president, Dr. Leroy Staggers, issued a statement to the students in October 2017 for a temporary on-campus relocation. He informed students that the original residence halls would reopen during the Spring 2018 semester.

Due to an emergency situation beyond the college's control, a temporary on-campus relocation of some students is necessary for the safety of all students. The students affected by this relocation will be able to return to their original residence halls upon returning to school for the spring 2018 semester.
I realize that this transition may be inconvenient for those who are being asked to relocate. The steps being taken in this situation are solely for the safety of our students; I sincerely ask for your patience and understanding as we actively strive to address the current situation with a long-term solution.

Students were relocated from two of the college's five dormitories due to "elevated mold and mildew levels in residence halls".

Students in the A.D.M.S Hall dorm were being relocated because it was "the only residence hall with a broken HVAC system causing the elevated spore levels." A.D.M.S. Hall houses women in the four-story building.

Alexander-Graham hall, a three-story male dormitory was temporarily affected by the move.

The statement is below.

Photos were provided by various students who attend the college showing molding issues across the campus.

As of Friday, the school has not responded to the lawsuit filed.

Morris College is a private liberal-arts college founded in 1908. The school's mascot is the Hornet.

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