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Some NSU students housed in hotels share concerns about living conditions; university leaders respond

Posts on social media show insects on beds, mildew buildup and vent issues. One student said she is missing class because of health concerns.

NORFOLK, Va. — Problems with student housing persist at Norfolk State University (NSU).

Last week, 13News Now reported on the high demand for on-campus housing, prompting administrators to place hundreds of upperclassmen across three local hotels.

This time around, we found some students who are raising concerns about their living conditions at one of the hotels. 

NSU sophomore Makayla Ward posted on social media about the overflow hotel she and fellow students are assigned to.

"It shouldn't have even gotten to that point. When a big group of girls went up there, the bed bugs and the mold," said Ward. "That's unsafe living conditions. Nobody should have to live like that." 

Photos and videos show insects on beds, vent issues and apparent mold.

Ward said her health is being compromised. 

"I suffered an asthma attack the other night. So, I went ahead and came home for my safety. I'm missing classes. I'm missing events, because of my health," she added. 

Sophomore Jayda Rogers said she can't concentrate on homework, while in her room.

"My roommate knows, I'm rarely here because it's really bad with my sinuses and my allergies really go get that bad," said Rogers. Both she and Ward said they feel like their concerns have fallen on deaf ears. 

Meanwhile, university leaders said they have met with hotel managers and some students.

"And it's important that they're satisfied with where they live and comfortable, so they can study," said NSU Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and Diversity Dr. Faith Fitzgerald. 

Dr. Fitzgerald said they are currently handling a total of 16 complaints related to concerns, like suspected mold, roaches, bugs and HVAC/plumbing. The upperclassmen 13News Now spoke with worry the number of students impacted is higher. 

"We are taking it seriously and we are working to assist students. The hotel has moved some students," Fitzgerald added. 

She also told 13News Now the hotel's tests for bed bugs, so far, came back negative. Tests for mold are underway.

Some argue university leaders should cap their admission of students to avoid running out of dorm space.

One anonymous student spoke with 13News Now, who said she felt deterred because of housing and financial aid issues. She opted to take a semester-long break. 

"Because admissions admitted too many individuals in, or too many freshmen, then that had trickled into a housing problem," the student said. "It became an overflow."

"You really don't know who's going to ask for housing and who isn't. So, it's difficult if you just cut it off. You may be cutting off students who plan to be commuter students," Fitzgerald said. 

Rogers said she is eager to move back on campus. 

"I know there are rooms somewhere they can put us. I feel as though they need to stop procrastinating," said Rogers. 

Part of a statement from NSU leaders said "Our goal is to bring as many students back to campus as possible later this semester."

Fitzgerald said some could move to a dorm on campus as early as this weekend, because of a number of students who are retracting enrollment. 

Hotel managers have not yet responded to a forwarded request for comment from 13News Now.

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