Washington — After 34 days of protest and 20 days of negotiations, Howard University students and the school’s administration reached an agreement to end the students’ protest regarding student housing and other demands and to end students’ occupation of the Armour J. Blackburn University Center.
Neither the students nor the administration would discuss the details of the agreement. They would not say whether the administration had met the students’ demands to improve housing conditions, for an open forum between students and the president and the students’ demand that students, alumni and faculty be reinstated to the university’s board of trustees.
“While the speciﬁc terms of the agreement are conﬁdential, it can be said without any hesitation that the students courageously journeyed on a path toward greater University accountability, transparency, and public safety” said the student’s attorney, Donald Temple, in a press release Monday, In a video statement on the university’s YouTube channel, university President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick also did not address details of the agreement.
He criticized the students’ protest, which he said made the university unsafe, but he did briefly address the students’ housing concerns.
“Even one issue in even one of our resident halls is one too many,” Frederick said, "and we will continue to remain vigilant in our pledge to maintain safe and best in class housing.”
The sit-in began Oct. 12 after members of the Live Movement, a national student coalition for historically black colleges and universities, and other student organizations occupied the Blackburn Center to protest living conditions in residential halls with reports of mold exposure, rodents and flooding.
Dozens of students, as well as a small number of faculty and alumni, slept outside of the student center. They issued four demands: an in-person town hall meeting with students and the university president, the reinstatement of all afﬁliate student, faculty and alumni to the board of trustees, a meeting with university leaders about a plan to remedy all housing issues and academic and legal immunity for all protestors involved.
In his annual State of the University address, Frederick acknowledged the housing issue, noting that mold had been found in 41 rooms but maintained that the university’s administration was diligent in managing those issues.
The protest received widespread news coverage, with reports in the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, and scores of Black newspapers and network television stations.
U.S. representatives Cori Bush and Ayanna Presley and civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson visited Blackburn in support of the students.
Live Movement member Tyler Davis said that despite their agreement with the university, the organization has more work to do.
“This is only one battle,” Davis said. “Everyone not only understands that but accepts that as their responsibility to continue fighting for the Howard University students.” Greg Baer
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