Howard University protesters continue to occupy an administration building for a fifth day in protests sparked by revelations that university employees had misappropriated financial aid money from 2007 to 2016.
Students occupying the administration building have refused to leave until all nine of their demands are met, including the resignation of university president Wayne A.I. Frederick.
In an emailed statement to students, Kenneth Holmes, vice president of student affairs, confirmed that the school will extend the deadline to put down a deposit for housing. If a large number of students request on-campus housing, Holmes said, the university will delay renovating the Harriet Tubman Quadrangle, a.k.a. ‘The Quad” to accommodate them. “The Quad” includes five dorms housing about 640 freshman women, Howard’s website states.
Holmes also said that the “administration will engage our students in examining the adequacy of on-campus housing to meet Howard University’s housing policy,” which requires students under 21 to live on campus unless they live with a parent or guardian.
“Our students are our priority, and we look forward to supporting them in their holistic Howard University experience,” Holmes said in the statement.
Even though one demand has been met, McKenney said students will continue to occupy the administration building until the other eight have been met. HU Resist is not willing to negotiate on the remaining demands, she said.
“We want people to see that there is a reason why we are here,” McKenney said. “It’s not just the financial aid situation — that highlights a very serious and a pervasive issue of the lack of transparency with this administration, and the lack of student involvement in all functions, which has led to a lot of issues.”
The Howard University Alumni Association released a statement Sunday backing President Frederick and the Board of Trustees. Association president Nadia Pinto said there have been many advancements under the leadership of Frederick, including four consecutive years of faculty salary increases and the university’s partnership with Google. Pinto also acknowledged the importance of addressing the issues raised by protesting students.
“The hearts and actions of our students today mirror the students who stood outside the A-Building fighting for change during the 60’s, 80’s and 90’s,” Pinto said. “When we see student protests, we know it is an indication that their voices are not being heard.”
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