Howard University

After nine days, the students at Howard University have ended their protests after university officials agreed to meet most of their demands.

The sit-in protest, led by the student group HU Resist, started March 29th after news broke about that six university employees had been embezzling financial aid funds. HU Resist leaders had been meeting with university officials over the course of eight days, although their earlier demands were focused on the firing of one person; Howard University president, Wayne Frederick. This all changed on Friday (April 6) when the HU Resist Twitter account posted a message saying that they were redirecting their demands to focus on the betterment of Howard University and its surrounding communities.

Frederick spoke at a press conference on Friday, saying that, “This is a beginning of a process, not just of reconciliation and healing, but of how we move forward.”

Throughout their protesting, the students have maintained that their love for Howard is why they were doing the sit-ins and they wanted to see school flourish even more. This is evident in their list of demands, which include:

• The deadline for submitting the institution’s $200 housing deposit was extended to May 1, 2018. A community wide announcement of the extension was already shared on April 1, 2018.

• If the housing deadline extension results in a significant number of students requesting on-campus housing, the Quad renovation will be delayed to accommodate additional occupancy.

• Howard will engage students in examining the adequacy of on-campus housing to meet Howard’s housing policy that states: “All Howard University first year (0 or 1 completed semesters of post-high school education) and second year (2 or 3 completed semesters of post-high school education) students under the age of 21 will be required to live on campus, unless living at home with a parent or guardian,” and measure against bed availability.

• Students will have a voice in selecting the student ombudsperson. The ombudsperson will be a graduate student who will be located in the Blackburn Center, and will report to the VP for Student Affairs and is expected to attend the Board Student Life and Affairs Committee meetings to make reports.

• The health and well-being of our community is of critical importance, and the Board and administration want to be supportive of the well-being of our students. Howard will implement the Proposal for a Joint Student-Administration Task Force to Enhance Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Services, dated April 1, 2018. Counseling provided under this Proposal will place emphasis on helping students overcome the anxiety of reporting sexual violence to the authorities. The Task Force will be co-chaired by a student and review the process for intake and will report to the Vice President for Student Affairs.

• The Board recognizes the cost of tuition is an area of utmost importance to the entire Howard community. Howard will commit to making a recommendation to the Board to consider holding undergraduate tuition at current levels for the academic year 2019-20 while working with the Tuition Rates and Fees Committee, which already includes student representation, to assess tuition and fees for the academic year 2020-21. As part of this process, the University will make comparative data used to inform its decisions available to the student body.

Other demands included setting up a food bank for Howard University students and the surrounding communities, as well as setting new policy so that the campus security guards can carry weapons (Howard University has a high crime rate.)

With their list of demands met, students are hoping this help with the progression of positive changes to the University.