Protesting Howard University students want change for future of school

Students touring Howard University stop outside the administration building Friday, March 30, 2018, where protesters were holding a sit-in. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
WASHINGTON — Students occupying the administration building at Howard University said there are no immediate plans to end their protest, but negotiations on nine demands to end the occupation are making progress.

The students said they have had meaningful talks with members of the university board of trustees, beginning with just two trustees when the protest began, to as many as eight, including Chairman Stacy Mobley.

Howard University student Alexis McKinney speaks during a briefing on the student protest. (WTOP/Dick Uliano)

“They’re seeing that there’s a need to re-evaluate the system by which we operate and govern ourselves as an institution,” said Alexis McKinney, a senior and an organizer of the student protest.

The students issued nine demands for an end to their protest, including the resignation of President Wayne A.I. Frederick over a longtime financial aid scandal. The students also said they are determined to win a policy that gives the student body a voice in the administration of the school.

“I think it’s the big issue of the presidency and the role of students on the board,” McKinney said. “And so, that’s the points where we’re having the issues that we’re committed to working out, not just for the sake of ending this occupation, but for the sake of figuring out what this institution is going to look like moving forward.”

“It’s not just an issue around the president, because presidents come and go,” said Jade Agudosi, a senior and president of the Howard University Student Government Association. “What we’re trying to do is make institutional changes that will last far beyond our time at Howard.”

The students said a Tuesday evening negotiating session was planned with trustees and that some sessions had run five hours or longer.

On the sixth day of their protest, students expressed pride at what they say is a milestone for their actions on a campus where activism is a tradition.

“This occupation of the administration [building] is the longest to happen in Howard University history,” McKinney said. “We hope for a future in which Howard University students will not have to take these measures to be heard.”

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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