Hundreds of Howard University students came together on Wednesday to protest against the poor housing conditions they say they’re subjected to at the reputable HBCU.
On Wednesday, protests lasted all day and followed a sit-in that kicked off Tuesday night at the school’s Blackburn University Center, Fox5 DC reports. Students say rats, roaches, and mold are just some of what they’re forced to live with at the historically Black college.
The allegations come amid a sweep of funding that’s been donated to the school in the form of grants and gifts from major corporations and school alumni. With students paying yearly tuition of $50,000 they are frustrated with the living circumstances.
In videos sent to Fox5, water can be seen pouring out of pipes while expired air filters with mold, mildew, and mushrooms grow on ceilings and walls. There is also concern about the lack of COVID-19 testing for students and safety on campus.
The student protesters spent two days demanding university officials to agree to a town hall meeting by the end of the month to negotiate their demands, DCist/WAMU reports. It was students with the group Live Movement that kicked off the protest on Tuesday night. The group serves as a coalition of HBCU students who advocate for education reform at the schools.
Protester Tia-Andrea Scott expressed concerns over accounts of students coughing up blood and experiencing mold in the walls of their dorms. She said university officials were invited to a town hall on Tuesday night but instead of showing up, they sent police officers instead.
“Not a single administrator showed up even though they were invited multiple times by the [Howard University Student Association] and other student groups,” Scott said. “Instead of meeting our demands, they instead met us with police.”
“This isn’t how we should be treated by our university. Howard University is supposed to be illustrious” Scott continued. “But when it comes to protecting the people that are here, and Black issues, clearly they’re not meeting us…unless media presence or unless everyone is watching.”
Video shared on social media shows Howard students blasting the school over the lack of COVID testing and the mold inside the dorms.
The Howard University Chapter of the NAACP has responded to the protest on Instagram vowing their support to students.
“We stand in solidarity with the student body who has continuously been ignored and mistreated,” the caption read. “We stand in solidarity with the student body who has declared that enough is enough.”
On Twitter, the organization took a stand with any students who might be penalized for protesting after the university’s vice president of student affairs told DCist/WAMU that any students remaining in the building after noon on Wednesday could be suspended or expelled.
“Also we have decided to help advocate for any students facing disciplinary action from the school,” HU NAACP said. “If you know a student who needs help in this regard send them our way!”
Also we have decided to help advocate for any students facing disciplinary action from the school. If you know a student who needs help in this regard send them our way !
— Howard Univ. NAACP (@HU_NAACP) October 13, 2021