9-day sit-in at Howard University ends

Howard University students’ win continues legacy of protests
A student sit-in at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

The nine-day student sit-in at Howard University came to an end Friday after trustees and the administration agreed to give them a greater voice in university decisions.

The board of trustees released a statement of commitments addressing issues raised by students with the group HU Resist. Students left the administration building at the Washington, D.C., campus, and a university news release said regular office hours will resume Monday.

“This is a long time coming,” said Alexis McKenney, lead organizer of HU Resist, adding that student activists had been organizing since last February, when the organization was founded. “Today’s a historic moment; this is the longest standing occupation of a building in Howard’s history.”

The board agreed Saturday to the students’ first demand: to “provide adequate housing for all students under the age of 21 and extend the fall 2018 housing deposit deadline to May 1.”

The administration said Friday that task forces co-chaired by students will be made to address and review policies pertaining to their other demands — namely issues of public safety, sexual harassment and assault, mental health and grievance mechanisms. Students will now be able to select a graduate representative who will report to the vice president of student affairs.

The school also said it would work to keep tuition affordable.

The occupation of the administration building began March 29, days after it was revealed that an outside auditor had determined that university employees misappropriated financial aid money from 2007 to 2016.

Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick congratulated students at the historically black college, saying they made sure their issues were heard.

“I appreciate what they have done to bring this community together,” Frederick said. “There’s no university without its students and the students must be the primary focus of the university.”

HU Resist said in a tweet that the group no longer looking for the resignation of the president.