Howard University students have officially ended their occupation of the school’s Blackburn Center, where they remained for more than a month to protest unsuitable living conditions – such as claims that their dorms were infested with mold, rodents and insects – and other issues.
The students’ attorney said they finally reached a satisfactory resolution with the school’s administration.
“The students courageously journeyed on a path towards greater university accountability and transparency and public safety” and “substantially accomplished their objectives,” attorney Donald Temple said during a press conference that was streamed on Roland Martin Unfiltered.
The terms of the settlement are confidential, Temple said, according to The Washington Post. However, Howard University confirmed on Twitter that an agreement had been reached.
“Howard University is pleased to announce we have come to an agreement with the students who occupied Blackburn, and will share a longer message from Dr. Wayne Frederick on this topic later today,” the school tweeted.
Students began the protest on Oct. 12. In addition to demands for improved housing conditions, they asked for Board of Trustee positions for students, faculty and alumni to be reinstated, as well as assurance that student protestors wouldn’t be expelled or otherwise disciplined for their actions.
They were joined in solidarity by faculty, alumni and students at other HBCUs across the country – including students at the famed Atlanta University Center HBCUs: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman College.
In addition to the students inside Blackburn, others formed a tent encampment outside. Civil rights legend Rev. Jesse Jackson also visited campus and led students in activist chants, encouraging them to keep fighting.
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As recently as last week, university officials claimed conditions at the school were not as bad as students made it seem. Students, however, stood by their claims that their dorms were infested with mold, rodents and insects.
“We came, we saw, we declared and we won,” student organizer Channing Hill said. “Today is a new day for Bison everywhere.”
Some congratulated the students for their perseverance and chastised Howard University for not addressing students’ concerns sooner.
“For 34 days, you stuck w/ your beliefs and prosecuted your case. Cheerleaders on the sidelines exhausted your resolve. The timid don’t-disturb-the-peace crowd questioned your loyalty. Strangers behind keyboards hurt your feelings. U maintained. Walk taller now,” @HowardPRof1 tweeted.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka joined in support of the students after Rev. Jackson gave his support.
“#BlackburnTakeover could have easily ended after few days. It came after many Howard alum/faculty incl.When you garner support like that, settling often becomes a financial decision,” journalist Chuck Modi wrote in a now-deleted tweet.
Baraka, a Howard alum who participated in protests when he was in college, expressed his support in a video Modi tweeted out. “Protesting was a part of my education at Howard University,” Baraka said.
The Moguldom Nation founder Jamarlin Martin predicted that once the protest made national news, it would move university officials to action.
“Howard has to do something fast, you can’t have this on blast on MSM. It’s a shame they will do something after the MSM gets the story. It’s not enough for their students to ask politely,” Martin tweeted on Nov. 12.
While full details are confidential, Howard students said amnesty from retaliation by the university is a part of the agreement.