The Tomato

The university is trying to defy the conventional with black mould. Photo and edits: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.
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RAs disguise fungus with Garnet and Grey spray-paint

Over the last few weeks the Tomato has been receiving several emails about the black mould epidemic facing Brooks residents. Disgruntled University of Ottawa tenant Dev Thain has been the leading figure in the fight against black mould, exposing the terrible power dynamics at play when landlords have total power over their tenants.

But other students began to notice something strange and oddly enticing. Another voice in this developing story is second-year theatre major Ashley Banes, who wrote to us several times noticing that the black mould in her unit seemed to have taken on another, slightly less depressing colour: Garnet and Grey.

In order to get to the bottom of this, the Tomato contacted the director of the U of O Housing Service, Rachelle Clark, who went on to explain that this paint job is a calculated tactic to promote the university.

“While most institutions see the negative side of everything, we as a university embrace our flaws. When life gives you lemons, why not paint ‘em Garnet and Grey?” she giggled. “Besides, everyone knows that mould is fun… gus.”

When the Tomato asked why she decided to keep the tenants out of the loop when it came to this new marketing strategy, she said that it was a  move to keep the trend of “defying the convention” alive by misinforming the tenants.

Clark wanted it to be a small mystery for students to discover, so the residence advisors of each Brooks residence—dressed like ninjas—decided to randomly create water leaks in two apartment walls throughout the month of February.

The landlords would wait for the tenants to get lured away by the sound of leaky faucets and then slowly start spray painting the affected, mouldy areas with the school’s official colours. While this tactic seemed strange, it was effective in attracting the right kind of attention.

Eventually, Clark wants tenants to start designing their own black mould patterns to show the creative side of living in rez.

“At the end of the day, we want students to be comfortable,” said Clark. “The U of O can be stressful, so why not embrace the flaws and make something beautiful out of it?”

Housing Service is also planning to incorporate the black mould into new holiday-themed events, like an Easter “asbestos hunt.”

“Easter eggs are just so passé,” said Clark.