Poor living conditions at Howard University have frustrated a number of students across campus. In a tweet, one student explained that “there are rats and roaches in the cafe, students without housing and mold in the limited housing that is available.” To combat these issues, WJLA reports that students have come together to form The Live Movement and request the following accommodations:
- In-person town hall with President Frederick and the administration scheduled before October ends
- Reinstate all affiliate trustee positions (students, faculty, and alumni) on the board of trustees with voting power
- The president and chairman of the board propose a meeting with student leadership outlining their “housing plan” to protect the incoming classes of Howard’s immediate future
Until these demands are met, members of The Live Movement will occupy the Blackburn Building, the school’s student activities building. Protests of this nature are not new to the Bison community as one Howard University Ph.D. student explained.
“Howard is not new to student protest. In 1968, Howard University students seized the Admin Building and demanded that the school makes institutional changes, like teaching African American history, setting precedent to future protest,” a Twitter user by the alias of Scorptini wrote.
“Over 1000 students protested by a sit in, in the then President, James Nabrit, office until their demands were at least addressed, if not met. This literally is why Howard now focuses on critical pedagogy and Black-centered education in general.”
As contextualized in the book, We Are Worth Fighting For, students occupied the administration building for the three days in 1989 to protest Lee Atwater, an advisor to President Ronald Reagan, being added to the school’s board of trustees. Nearly 30 years later, students gathered in the admin building for nine days during a financial aid scandal.
In response to recent events, students say the university sent out an email that describes the protest movement as a “false” representation of the “Howard student experience at large.”
Despite pushback from the university, students have stood firm in their positions. Within the last 72 hours, students, graduates and supporters of the protest movement have used #BlackoutAtBlackburn as a way to share their thoughts on the matter as well as videos that support their accusations.