As one students states, this includes “rats and roaches in the cafe, students without housing and mold in the limited housing that is available.” There are also reports of leaking dorms and slow action from the administration to accommodate students when there are flooding issues.
Students have circulated video footage of their living conditions.
To address these problems, students have organized a sit-in at the Blackburn University Center— “the social hub of Howard’s campus”— “to voice their concerns with administration to address housing issues, and the removal [of] student, faculty & alumni representation on the Board of Trustees,” says Twitter user @scorptini, who stated she’s pursuing her PhD at the university.
Protester Tia-Andrea Scott told media outlet DCist that faculty and administration were invited to address their concerns. But they didn’t show up, she says. “Instead of meeting our demands, they instead met us with police.”
The news of Howard’s housing conditions has spread, with Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., offering her support:
Students started a #BlackburnTakeover hashtag and made a list of demands including:
an “in-person town hall with President [Wayne] Frederick and administration scheduled before the end of October…[to ] reinstate all affiliate trustee positions (students, faculty, and alumni) on the Board of Trustees with voting power…[and that] 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.”