Howard University’s student-led protest comes to an end

Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick and student protestors announced a conclusion to more than a month of protests outside of the Blackburn University Center.

In a statement and video address to the university community, Frederick said that the protest will end, and that non-student protesters are also expected to end campus occupation.

“Protest drives change. I accept and applaud it,” Frederick said. “I do, however, struggle with a type of protest that jeopardizes student safety, the very thing that students said prompted their concerns.”

The statement, which called for empathy, did not directly state what changes or agreements student protestors and the university agreed to.

Tyler Davis, a freshman and press representative for The Live Movement, told WTOP that the group collectively decided to sign the agreement, which required them to leave Blackburn by 5 p.m. on Monday.

“We came to an agreement with the university and we got everything that we asked for,” Davis said.

President Frederick and Davis were both unwilling to share details on the apparent confidential agreement, though Frederick said he planned to share ideas to address concerns soon.

The demands that students were promoting ahead of this agreement included academic and punitive immunity, an in-person town hall including the administration, reinstatement of affiliate trustee positions with voting power and a meeting with student leadership to outline their housing plan.

The student protests at the Howard Blackburn University Center gained national attention from community members and advocates, including the support of Rev. Jesse Jackson.

“After 33 days of protesting and 20 days of negotiation, we are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Howard’s administration,” student protester Ericka England said on the Black Star Network.

Students began cleaning and gathering supplies from the protest ahead of noon on Monday. Organizers also plan to give all donated materials back to the community during a mutual aid event on Sunday, Nov. 21.

The students’ concerns included mold and rodents in student housing. They also said there’s not enough university-run housing available.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand, and we have shown that the power of students is paramount,” England said.

“We were fed up. We had enough,” said student protestor Aniyah Vines on the Black Star network. “We won for Howard University, both historic Howard and future Howard, and we won for our community.”

During his State of the University Address, Frederick said mold was reported in 41 of the university’s 2,700 rooms, with some of the damage the result of accidental human error. He also said that the absence of students in school buildings due to COVID-19 allowed conditions to worsen.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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