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Howard University Students Protest Poor Housing Conditions

Howard University Students Protest Poor Housing Conditions

Howard University students are entering their third week of sit-in protests as they combat the school board in protest of the poor housing conditions on campus. Students have complained about cases of mold, mildew, rats, and roaches in the cafes and dorms on campus, but school officials have refused to relocate students who have found these unsanitary conditions in their rooms and dorm halls. On the heels of the university’s annual Homecoming celebration, student protestors have been put on the backburner by the administration.

To address these problems, students have organized a sit-in at the Armour J. Blackburn University Center— the social hub of Howard’s campus— to voice their concerns with the school’s administration to address housing issues, and the removal of student, faculty & alumni representation on the Board of Trustees.” 

On Oct. 12, Howard students started the hashtag “#BlackburnTakeover” with the hopes of getting their demands before the school administration.

  1. In-person town hall with President Frederick and the administration scheduled before the end of October

  2. Reinstate all affiliate trustee positions on the board of trustees with voting power

  3. The President and Chairman of the board propose a meeting with student leadership outlining their “housing plan” to protect the incoming classes of Howard’s immediate future

In response, the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs stated that some students would have to face judicial affairs for violating the Student Code of Conduct.

In another statement from the Howard University Board of Trustees from Oct. 16 said, “Simply put, we hear you and we continue to welcome your viewpoints on all matters pertaining to Howard.”

University officials last week said they will continue to “develop new ways to encourage meaningful and truly representative leadership from its students.” Officials added that students who reported issues related to mold or flooding had been offered options to relocate.

HU freshman Chandler Robinson took to TikTok to air her grievances with the school saying, “I have experienced some of the most challenging things in the two months that I’ve been here. There are people coughing up blood in the hospital right now [due to mold exposure]. I personally didn’t have WiFi for the first month I was here and because of that I’m five weeks behind in all of my classes.” The HU community continues to protest and rally outside of the school buildings until the administration has met their needs and demands. 

Other HBCU students have begun demanding that their institutions meet their needs. On Oct. 18, Atlanta University Center students launched an occupation of the Clark Atlanta University Promenade, demanding their respective administrations address basic living conditions. In a statement titled “Declaration of Occupation: Atlanta Student Movement Takeover,” Clark Atlanta University students were joined by their counterparts from Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, requesting their school presidents conduct a full assessment of student housing needs. 

Protestors have promised they will not stop even during the esteemed Homecoming Week and multiple artists have pulled out of their performances in solidarity with the student protestors. 

The BlackPrint stands in solidarity with Howard University students as they fight for better living conditions. For more information on the issue, look to @aublackstudentunion on Instagram. 

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