Students at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C., entered the third day of a sit-in Saturday after talks with administrators didn’t lead to progress in meeting the students’ demands.
Members of the student group HU Resist, which organized the protest, said they expected to meet with nine members of the school’s board of trustees on Saturday after a meeting between students and two board members the previous day didn’t lead to any change, local radio station WTOP reported.
Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick also did not show up to the meeting, students told reporters.
The protest began after Frederick put out a statement saying an internal probe found that, from 2007 to 2016, financial aid was misused by the university when some employees received grants and tuition remission that exceeded the total cost of attendance.
Students are demanding a number of assurances from Howard, including an end to “unsubstantiated tuition hikes,” adequate housing for students under the age of 21, action against sexual assault on campus and the resignation of the university president and the executive committee of the board of trustees.
“Throughout its history, Howard University has failed to prioritize the interests of its student body, and we refuse to suffer the impact of administrative negligence in silence,” the student group said in a statement.
In the words of Frederick Douglass, “power concedes nothing without a demand.” These are our demands. #StudentPowerHU pic.twitter.com/pnFOefF2KM
— #StudentPowerHU (@HUResist) March 26, 2018
The students also asked for campus police officers to be disarmed and the creation of a Police Oversight Committee. They want the administration to fight food security and gentrification in the surrounding community and for students to be able to influence decisions made by school officials “by way of popular vote.”
However, the trustees said in a lengthy statement Friday that the student group’s concerns are “inaccurate.”
“Regarding the Office of Financial Aid situation, it’s important to understand that President Frederick proactively launched a review of this office to ensure it was best supporting our students,” said Stacey Mobley, chairman of Howard’s board of trustees.
“All of us recognize the critical role financial aid plays in the lives of our students and it was important to us to ensure the office was operating appropriately. While the review unfortunately uncovered alarming behavior, he immediately took appropriate action and launched an internal investigation to get to the bottom of this,” Mobley added.
The students have made it clear that they will continue their sit-in until their demands are taken seriously by Howard officials.