Howard University students give #RolandMartinUnfiltered exclusive look inside of #TakeOverBlackburn University Center
by Lori Shepherd
Black Star Network Staff Writer
Two weeks after a small group of Howard University students raised issues with the prominent HBCU over living conditions, the battle continues to intensify as university officials grapple with the intensity of the criticism they are getting on social media.
On Monday, #RolandMartinUnfiltered was given an exclusive tour of ground zero of the student protests - the Armour J. Blackburn University Center, where students have been camped out - inside and outside - sleeping in tents and air mattresses, and vowing not to leave until Howard administrators meet their demands, which includes:
- Bathrooms without running water
- Ceilings with open spaces exposing cords
- Flights of stairs with no railings
Today, students say the conditions are "uninhabitable" and continue to await a response from Howard President Wayne Frederick, and other administrators, regarding a reply to a list of demands. They say Frederick has not communicated with them in over a week.
They say the problems include mold in the dorms, leaks and flooding, dining halls infested with rats and roaches.
Also on Monday, #RolandMartinUnfiltered was given a tour of the one of the major campus dormitories by Tashni-Ann Dubroy, the chief operating officer at Howard University.
She said additional crews have been brought in to address issues with the dorms, and pointed to an array of renovations, repairs, and other evidence that the administration is taking parents' and students' complaints seriously. She also explained that the University typically has "usual maintenance," but now "we've ramped up" the maintenance with the complaints.
During the panel discussion, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president emeritus of Bennett College, a women-only HBCU in North Carolina, says what Howard is facing is similar o other HBCUs.
"All of our HBCUs have infrastructure issues. They are very old,” she said. "I don't understand why President Frederick won't meet with them. But they deserve to be heard. This generation wants to be heard."