Howard University Students Reach Deal With University Officials After a Month of Protest Over Poor Housing Conditions

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Nov 17, 2021

Howard University

Howard University officials have reached an agreement with university students who have been protesting for a month over poor housing conditions on campus.

President of Howard University – historically black research university in Washington, D.C, Wayne Frederick, said that reaching the agreement with students who have occupied Blackburn University Center is a “welcome step forward” as the university works to bring together the Howard community.

“The health and well-being of our students is the most important part of my job as president. As I have said before, even one issue in one of our dormitories is too many, and we will continue to remain vigilant in our pledge to maintain safe and high-end housing,” Frederick said. 

After the deal was reached, students agreed to leave the Backburn Center, and the President said that he expects non-students protesting over the matter will also leave the area and end the occupation of the campus.

In his message addressing the end of protests published Monday on university’s website, the president mentioned the university’s campus master plan, which he said serves “grow and invest” at the university and which will continue to improve campus experiences for students, staff and faculty. According to him, the university can achieve progress if all come together as one Howard.

A spokeswoman for the #BlackburnTakeover, Jasmine Joof, told CNN that the agreement has ended students’ protests, pointing out that “increased scrutiny, transparency and accountability” has been achieved.

Following the deal, one student leader said that for 33 days, students have been saying that not only their lives, voices and concerns matter, adding that they saw and won.

About a month ago, hundreds of Howard University students protested over poor housing conditions on campus, reporting rats, mold, and flooding in the buildings. Students have raised their concerns to university officials about these issues in their dormitory rooms, but also about the lack of COVID-19 testing as well as safety in general on campus.

In October, Howard’s Cynthia Evers, the vice president of student affairs, said in a statement that the university supports the peaceful protests of students who reach out to the school in need, nevertheless added that some students will have to meet with judicial affairs and discuss Student Code of Conduct Violations. 

Students asked the university to provide a comprehensive plan and improve the situation in the building as well as to be more transparent. Since October 12, 2021, they have spent nights in tents outside Blackburn.

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