Workers complain of mold, mystery toxins at RCC

Rockland Community College is in the news for 9 Workman’s Compensation claims for illness due to toxic mold and other possible toxins in the the 171-year-old Brucker Hall.

My girlfriend, Missy Gluckmann, was one of those exposed to mold in the college’s administrative building, Brucker Hall. The college won’t admit to mold in the building, however, they just moved another employee, acknowledging that she was exposed to mold and that they’ve sealed off that office while they repair it. This is a contradictory point in the article that needs to be explored further.

The article does not mention that Missy’s Worker’s Compensation claim against the college was found to be valid by the Worker’s Compensation Court in White Plains. And, it wrongfully states that mold was never found in the building, but it then goes on to cite an article the paper itself published in 2000 about mold being discovered and remediated from parts of the building.

Although the article confuses the issue a bit, it does make it public that both Missy and another employee were exposed to mold in the building and that more employees are filing Worker’s Compensation claims for illness related to working in the building. Many RCC employees who knew Missy heard rumors on campus that she was let go because of some billing issues, however, this article corrects that mistaken belief and confirms that Missy did resign from the college due to illness cause by her exposure to mold in Brucker Hall.

Instead of admitting to the issue, the college is backpedaling and putting their own spin on it, possibly to limit legal exposure. This, of course, is what most companies do when being asked to own up to their failings. And, we’ve all learned is the wrong way to resolve issues in the workplace. RCC is a small college and its President, Dr. Wood, most likely has little to no training in how to deal with these types of employee health issues. In fact, he was notified by my girlfriend in a 4-page letter about her exposure, which gave him web sites and other facts on how to address the proglem. Instead of meeting with Missy to personally get involved and then fixing building, he chose to refer Missy to the college’s lawyer.

Dr. Wood, like the Bush administration or any other dysfunctional organization, chose to ignore the issue until it got worse for Missy and others in the building, who were exposed and are now sick for the rest of their lives. When mold attacks, it can cause permanent respiratory issues that there is no cure for. By not taking this issue seriously, RCC has jeopardized the health of workers in the building and Dr. Wood should be held accountable. There is a county legislative hearing scheduled this week to address the problems at Brucker Hall.

Remember, this is a college folks–a place where they are supposed to TEACH students about why we do the things we do. When a college can’t get their employee’s health looked after appropriately, you have to wonder who is running the asylum?

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