Oct 14, 2021 - News

Howard University students protest campus safety and facilities

Howard University freshman move-in at the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Howard University freshmen move in at the start of the 2021-22 school year. Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

Howard University students are staging a sit-in to demand school officials address safety concerns and give students representation on the board of trustees, Paige writes. 

  • Students at the prestigious HBCU are reporting black mold, water leaks, bugs and rodents in university facilities, all while the price of tuition increases. 

Why it matters: This is the second large student protest of its kind in the last few years at Howard. Students and alumni say the university still isn’t putting students first. 

Howard's Cynthia Evers, the vice president of student affairs, released a statement saying the university supports the right to peaceful protest, and "the well-being of our students is always one of our top concerns."

The statement also details some of the work the university has done to provide housing for students and to address other concerns, including representation on the board of trustees.

  • HU's housing occupancy rate is 94%, according to the statement, which also says some students were asked to meet with judicial affairs to discuss code of conduct violations.

Driving the news: Since Tuesday night, students have been staging a sit-in at Blackburn Center on campus. 

  • Axios' Chelsea Cirruzzo was turned away after attempting to get on campus Wednesday afternoon.

HU senior Aniyah Vines and founder of The Live Movement, an advocacy group for HBCU students, tells Axios that university officials threatened to expel students who didn’t leave, and pulled a false fire alarm to force students out.

  • She also says MPD officers attempted to forcibly remove them from Blackburn.
  • Vines tells Axios that she got sick from mold in her dorm and had to be moved. 

“People are saying the same things in 2021 as they did in 2018. So that means that nothing is happening. No change is being made,” the student leader said of university officials responding to student needs. 

  • Vines who’d been protesting for 36 hours straight without sleep when she spoke with Axios says students will continue to pressure the administration until their demands are met. 

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