Howard University Students Denounce Deplorable Living Conditions

As the student occupation of Howard University’s Blackburn Center has entered its fifth week, protesters have garnered significant support for their demands that administration at the historically black university immediately address deplorable living conditions.

In early October, students occupied the Blackburn Center to protest vermin infestations, mold, asbestos and other conditions overseen by the for-profit building management company Corvias. Students have camped outside the building in tents demanding that Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick convene a school-wide town hall meeting to discuss student and alumni representation on the Howard board of trustees, improved living conditions and freedom from legal and academic repercussions for student protesters.

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Howard University President Addresses Housing Issues

Amid a nearly month-long student protest, Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick attempted to correct course during a semiannual state-of-the-university address, acknowledging some of the issues that have sparked an ongoing occupation of a campus building.

“The current events that are taking place on campus are very important. I hear the concerns, I want to be absolutely clear about that,” Frederick said. “We apologize for anybody that was inconvenienced in any way, shape, or form.”

Originally slated to occur on Oct. 22, during Howard’s homecoming weekend, Frederick delayed the speech to Friday. With protests ongoing at the time — nearly 150 students were camped out near or inside the Blackburn Building — Frederick said it felt appropriate to postpone, so his remarks would not serve as a “counter-narrative” to students’ demands.

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Howard University Students Protesting Housing Conditions

In an open letter published Tuesday, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick wrote that students’ two-week occupation of a campus building in protest of poor housing conditions and other issues “must end.”

Students have occupied Howard’s Armour J. Blackburn Center for two weeks, vowing to stay put until the university remediates mold in students’ dorms; creates a housing plan for incoming freshmen; and reinstates student, faculty, and alumni members to the university’s Board of Trustees, among other demands.

Alumni, local activist organizations, and public figures have shown support on social media for what’s being called the Blackburn Takeover. School administrators have warned demonstrators they could be suspended or expelled for continuing to occupy the building.

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Howard University Students Sit-In Over Safety Issues

Washington, DC – Hundreds of Howard University students protested on campus Wednesday morning following a sit-in Tuesday night over housing and other concerns.

Students with the group Live Movement, a coalition of students from historically Black colleges and universities who advocate for education reform, began their sit-in at the Blackburn University Center Tuesday evening to demand university officials, including President Wayne Frederick, agree to a town hall meeting by the end of the month to negotiate their demands. Protesters say they will not leave the university center until officials agree to enter talks.

Students have expressed concerns about mold in the walls of their dorms, lack of COVID-19 testing for students, and safety on campus. Protester Tia-Andrea Scott explained that protesters are concerned about some students who’ve reportedly been hospitalized after coughing up blood and experiencing mold in the walls of their dorms.

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Howard University Students Winning, 6th Day Of Occupation

Howard University students are in their sixth day of occupying the administration building and they are winning support among the faculty with the Faculty Senate Council voting no confidence in the president, Board of Trustees and others. The Faculty Senate also issued a letter of student support saying they “… are encouraged by and proud of our students’ efforts, which are living examples of the mission of Howard University.” Black America web, CNN and USA Today  reported that the Hoard University Board of Trustees agreed to one of their nine demands on Saturday, March 30: to “provide adequate housing for all students under the age of 21 and extend the fall 2018 housing deposit deadline to May 1.

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