Howard University Students Demand Better Housing and Representation

In Summary

Students are taking over the campus of Howard University to protest housing conditions, among other issues, and they don’t plan on stopping until their needs are met. 

Howard University students have staged an old-fashioned, sit-in protest for school officials to meet their demands for better housing for incoming freshmen, among other issues they’ve deemed critical. 

The Washington Post reported that more than two dozen students occupied the Blackburn University Center from Tuesday night into Wednesday, draping a giant white banner “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” painted on it. The effort is being led by Live Movement, a coalition of students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who advocate for education reform.

RELATED: Howard University Students and Alumni Upset at Phylicia Rashad 

Protestors are also asking for an in-person town hall meeting with President Wayne A. I. Frederick by the end of the month and for all students, faculty and alumni to be reinstated as voting members on the school board of trustees. 

BNC reported students have been coughing up blood as a result of mold in the walls of the freshman dormitories. 

“This isn’t how we should be treated by our university. Howard University is supposed to be illustrious,” protester Tia-Andrea Scott told the DCist. “But when it comes to protecting the people that are here, and Black issues, clearly they’re not meeting us…unless media presence or unless everyone is watching.” 

Students are also displeased with a tuition hike from almost $26,000 in 2020 to more than $28,000 this year. 

Howard’s vice president for student affairs, Cynthia Evers, wrote to students in an email that the school couldn’t afford to decrease tuition “when we already charge as much as 50% less than peer universities,” per Lumpkin.  

She added that mold inside the dormitories was not widespread on campus and that maintenance staff was on top of mold remediation and HVAC duct cleaning in the impacted rooms. 

In a statement released to the university’s social media accounts, Evers stated that students’ well-being is always a top priority and that the university will support the right to peaceful protest—but they will not support interruptions or instigating. 

RELATED: Thai authorities seek to censor coverage of student protests 

“In previous months, leadership has collaborated with student leaders to address top concerns and continue to provide a best-in-class university experience,” she said. “The university’s current housing occupancy rate is 94% and the university continues to add and house students who have come to the office of residence life with needs.” 

Howard provided a total of 5,714 available beds at the start of the fall 2021 semester, a 15% increase over the previous year, per the statement. 

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