Howard University school leaders meet with student protesters

For more than two weeks, Howard University students have been protesting living conditions and a lack of housing opportunities at the school. On Tuesday, school leaders met with protestors to discuss their demands.

According to the university’s student-run newspaper “The Hilltop,” university president Wayne A. I. Frederick said only 38 reports of mold were found in dorms throughout campus. He maintained that the issue was to be expected from wet and humid conditions in buildings that had not been used in over a year. He also said that these cases would not be the only ones.

“We’re going to have more,” Frederick said.

Wayne also addressed the claims that the university created a housing shortage by selling some of its former dorms like Lucy Diggs Slowe Hall and Meridian Hill Hall. He said these dorms were not sold and the university could not afford the repairs needed for both of the  buildings, which led to the school to leasing them for immediate revenue.

Frederick and Executive Vice President Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy also stated that COVID-19 had made planning for housing needs of incoming students’ a more difficult task than previous years.

Tuesday’s meeting also consisted of a presentation of the university’s masterplan, which had been introduced in 2020. The plan proposes a path to improving the campus, including a two-phase housing community on Sherman Avenue in northwest.

Another meeting was held on Thursday to allow students to ask school officials questions, which they were not able to do during Tuesday’s meeting.

During that meeting, Wayne proposed the idea of holding a town hall for students to directly address their concerns, one of the original demands made by protestors. However, Wayne said he prefers addressing small groups to avoid confrontational dialogue and to ensure the meeting is effective.

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