Administration conceded on nearly a dozen demands after student takeover
The administration of Howard University recently caved to the demands of student protesters who had occupied a university administrative building for over a week, conceding on nearly a dozen of the group’s demands, including a review of the university’s “grievance mechanisms” and a proposed new course “designed to emphasize prevention of sexual assault.”
Now, nearly two weeks after the capitulation, university officials are refusing to comment on the matter, a sign of the growing power of campus protests and the ability of students to force campus administrators to accommodate their numerous desires..
The student protest, reported on by The Washington Post and other outlets, centered around a list of demands put forth by the student group HU Resit. Protesters, who occupied the building from Mar. 29 to April 6, were motivated in part by a student aid embezzlement scandal at the university.
The list of demands, posted on Twitter by the HU Resist account, laid out nine stipulations for the university, including the requirements that the school “actively fight rape culture on campus” and that Howard implement an “inclusive attendance policy that accounts for mental and emotional health issues.”
Following the eight-day student occupation of university property, the school reached an agreement with the protesters, ending the occupation and handing the protesters a significant victory.
Among the concessions made by Howard’s Board of Trustees: students at the university “will have a voice in selecting the student ombudsperson;” a proposed “Joint Student-Administration Task Force to Enhance Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Services;” a possible freezing of tuition rates for at least one year; a “task force, co-chaired by a student…to review existing grievance mechanisms at the University,” and the possibility of a “mandatory 1-credit course with a curriculum designed to emphasize prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment and interpersonal violence.”
The Board of Trustees called the concessions a “Statement of Commitments” which “are meant to address the needs, and are for the benefit and welfare of the entire Howard University community.” The commitments represent a shift from the board’s rhetoric a week ago, when Howard Board of Trustees chairman Stacey Mobley said in a statement that “many of the concerns [raised by the students] are inaccurate.”
The university’s president, Wayne A.I. Frederick, did not respond to emails from The College Fix asking if the president’s office supported the right of students to forcibly commandeer university property. The Fix also emailed the board of trustees to ask what university officials believed would happen if the students’ demands were not meant. Those emails were not returned.
Emails and phone calls to Howard University’s Chief of Staff D. Paul Monteiro, as well as the school’s assistant to the president Marleny Mont, were also ignored.
The capitulation by the Board of Trustees is yet another instance in a growing list of universities ceding demands made by aggressive student groups. At American University last year, the administration folded to student demands and barred white people from entering a campus cafe.
At Evergreen State College last May, meanwhile, that school folded in the face of an anti-white student mob, mandating “cultural competency, sensitivity, and anti-bias training” for staff and “a new and expanded equity and multicultural center,” among numerous other demands.
And at the University of California, Santa Cruz around the same time, the president at that university gave in to activist demands after a black student group “reclaimed” a university building.
HU Resist did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The College Fix.
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