A student sit-in and protest at Howard University has entered its second day and student leaders said they aren’t leaving until their demands are met.
Howard students are currently occupying the prominent Washington, D.C.-based HBCU’s Armour J. Blackburn University Center, the social hub of the campus. Among their demands are improved housing, representation on the school’s board of trustees with voting power and a meeting with Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick.
“We are fighting for shared governance at Howard and educating people on Democratic socialism,” said Erica England, a political science major and member of the afro socialist campus group, Young Democratic Socialists of America (YBSA), in an interview with the student newspaper of Howard University, The Hilltop.
She added that students initially organized to get participation in a townhall. “When we got to the townhall, we realized that none of the administration that were invited to attend the townhall came to the townhall. So we’re asking that administration set a date for them to have a town hall with students so that we can discuss the many, many issues that have been going on at Howard and how to rectify them,” England continued.
“Students have been facing a lot of issues on campus, everything from housing to tuition increases to safety issues on campus, and we feel as though the administration is not listening to us,” England said in a separate interview with Washington, D.C. CBS TV affiliate WUSA9. “
The students began their protest around lunchtime on Tuesday, according to WTOP News. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the student sit-in was still in progress in Blackburn. However, they posted an update on Instagram that said. “THEY’RE TRYING TO KICK US OUT AT 12:00” and asked all their fellow Bison to “pull up” and support the movement.
“What we are doing in there we are within our constitutional rights to protest,” said a Howard student who goes by the name Afeni on Twitter. “We are literally walking on the yard of our ancestors. We are literally on an HBUC campus for a reason. We are not here just to go to class. We are here to be leaders. We are here to be advocates. We are here to be changemakers. IF you just want to go to class, take you a** to a PWI because we’re not here for it!”
The campus chapter of the NAACP it “stands in solidarity with our fellow Howard University student body” in a Twitter thread on Tuesday. They also provided tips for the protestors to stay safe and be effective.
President Frederick had not commented on the protest at the time of publication.