Howard University Student Activists Reach Agreement With Administration, End Monthlong Protest

Robyn Mowatt Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she…
Howard University
Photo Credit: Drew Angerer for Getty Images

The monthlong protest Howard University students began to address housing conditions, COVID-19 testing, Board of Trustees representation, and more is officially over. 

Howard University students have ended their protest that began over a month ago to raise awareness around student housing conditions.

On Monday morning, per CNN, Frank Tramble, a spokesman for the university released a statement expressing the HBCU and the students had reached an agreement and resolution. Additionally, Jasmine Joof, a spokeswoman for #BlackburnTakeover said the agreement effectively ended their protest.

Joof added, “We have achieved increased scrutiny, transparency and accountability.”

On October 12, students with Live Movement, a coalition of students began protesting by sleeping in tents and on air mattresses at the school’s Blackburn Center to highlight inadequate dorm conditions. Water damage, mold in dorms, and pests such as mice and roaches were examples of inadequate housing the students aimed to address. Students said after reporting these issues, there were barely any shifts to better these environments. 

Protestors stated that Howard University must provide a comprehensive plan to fix the housing issues in addition to being more honest. Amongst their asks, protestors also wanted to enter talks with administrators to also address “students, faculty and alumni be reinstated as voting members on the university’s Board of Trustees,” per DCist. Hundreds of students participated in the protests. 

The “housing crisis” was recognized by civil rights leaders including Rev. Jesse Jackson, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, and Malcolm Luther King III. Jackson visited the campus in November to negotiate agreements between Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick and students. 

The handling of the sit-ins has been covered by mainstream media. One shocking revelation was that after students aimed to host a town hall meeting in October to further explore their issues, police were sent instead. The officers attempted to remove the students. 

This was not the first time in recent years that Howard University students protested. In 2018, there was a nine-day sit-in protest to overhaul the university’s sexual assault policy, a creation of a food bank to serve students and the surrounding D.C. community, and a review of policies allowing campus police officers to carry weapons. Students leaders eventually met and compromised on seven points out of their nine-point list with the Board of Trustees. 

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