In a report from The Undefeated, Frederick wrote “We appreciate pet owners respecting our campus by not bringing pets onto the private areas” in an email to the “Howard University Family” on April 19.
The email also said: “Howard is a private institution nestled in the heart of an urban city and we’ve shared a long-standing positive relationship with our evolving community for more than 150 years, which we look forward to continuing in the future.”
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Howard University students have noticed an increase in people frequenting the campus grounds — particularly The Yard — with their dogs, and feel that they are being disrespectful considering there are actual dog parks nearby.
In a report from DCist, nearby residents walking their dogs throughout the campus is the latest sign of gentrification affecting the neighborhoods — Shaw, Pleasant Plains, and LeDroit Park — that surround the university. Aside from new neighbors walking their dogs on the campus, students have also noticed them using the campus grounds to “exercise, go for a leisurely stroll, or lay out a picnic blanket with their family.”
“You know this is a university. You know this is a historically black university. And you feel so entitled that you’re just going to walk your dog there?” Briana Littlejohn, a student at Howard, told DCist. “I find it very disrespectful.”
The report goes on to acknowledge how some students created the Twitter hashtag #wearenotapark in 2015 as a response to neighbors treating the campus like a park, as well as highlight the divided opinions people have on the matter, with students requesting that residents be more integrated in the community and understand the significance of the campus to its predominalty black student body.
“It would be different if they were really trying to integrate with students, with Howard. But they’re not. They just live around campus and think they can go there…because it’s a space they can encroach on,” Littlejohn said.
Since then, Fox 5 DC has also reported on the students complaints against people walking their dogs on the campus. During their report they spoke with a resident, Sean Grubbs-Robishaw, on the matter, with some of his comments facing criticism on social media.
“They’re in part of DC so they have to work within DC. If they don’t want to be within DC then move the campus,” Grubbs-Robishaw said. “I think we need to work together and I don’t think it should be a…there or here. It’s our community and that’s how it should be.”
The remark, specifically, “move the campus,” has been called out on Twitter. Howard University was established back in 1867.
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