Roaches And Black Mold: Inside South Carolina’s Freshman Dorms

This is not the ‘first-year student experience’ the University of South Carolina is known for …

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As the largest university in the state in terms of its enrollment, the University of South Carolina ranks among the nation’s top fifty for best student life – and ranked No. 1 among public colleges for its first-year student experience in 2023.

The problem? That experience depends heavily on where first-year students reside.

In particular, the status of at least two freshman dormitories would seem to call into question that lofty ranking.

Despite being the subject of a disturbing report by this news outlet last year, first-year dorms Bates House and Bates West continue to have issues – including problems which date back many years.




Built in 1969, Bates House serves as the housing residence for students attending the university under the Gamecock Gateway Bridge program. This program – which began in 2012 – offers residents of the Palmetto State “an alternative pathway to full enrollment at the University of South Carolina.”

Our media outlet has received reports from concerned parents of students in this program who believe their children are being “penalized” by being placed in this dorm – where they must live in dirty, moldy, roach-infested and potentially unsafe conditions.

A source who spoke with our media outlet on condition of anonymity revealed their child was a member of the bridge program and was given no choice but to live in Bates House – even after reading our 2023 report on the facility.

“We were not allowed to select any other housing option,” the source said. “USC has built four brand new residence dorms in short walking distance yet Bates is still being (used) despite reports of mold, bugs, dirty common areas – and again students are penalized and forced to stay there.”

Our report last year referenced horror stories about “roach motels” at Bates filling up faster than they could be replaced – citing one parent who spotted more than a hundred roaches during the four hours they were at the dorm with their daughter.

Additionally, Bates West – the university’s first co-ed residence hall – is in a similar state of neglect.



Mold is also a growing concern … literally.

South Carolina resident Hal Harris revealed that when he moved his son into Bates West for the 2017-2018 school year, he almost immediately spotted mold growing in the dorm.

“My oldest son started attending Carolina and was assigned to live in Bates, and during the move in, after observing the conditions of the dorm, I became concerned,” Harris said. “I ordered a black mold test kit on Amazon that tested positive. As a result we contacted the school, they said there was nothing they could do, so we moved my son out.”

Billed as a “one-of-a-kind residence hall community,” the ten-story residence hall located at 399 Bull Street was once among the most coveted student housing destinations. But that was more than a half century ago. Today, Bates and Bates West are so unpopular the school has to compel students to stay there.

As the school year approaches – with reports of housing shortages for incoming students and ongoing issues with some of the dorms – our media outlet stands ready to receive further tips regarding issues of concern involving the well-being of students attending the University of South Carolina. Information and tips can be sent to

As always, anonymous tips are welcomed.



Erin Parrott (Provided)

Erin Parrott is a Greenville, S.C. native who graduated from J. L. Mann High School in 2021. She is currently a rising senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in broadcast journalism. Got feedback or a tip for Erin? Email her here.



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Always Has Been June 25, 2024 at 5:05 pm

Bates West?

*reads article*

Bates West.

CongareeCatfish Top fan July 1, 2024 at 12:27 pm

How about contacting USC and asking for a comment before publishing, FITS? They do after all have a very sizable and active public communications division – did it ever occur to you to contact them for feedback? That was a journalistic standard for ages; not doing so would draw criticism of a journalist drafting a “hatchet piece” or being a “hack”. Maybe USC would show that they spent thousands of dollars of pest control, indoor air quality abatement, and then conducted a student survey to see if they thought things improved. Maybe that would show that you are only listening to a few hyperactive Karens and spoiled rich kids….but then again, maybe not. We don’t know because we’re only hearing one side of the story. But such is the state of journalism these days…..


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