Howard students enter second week of sit-in on campus to protest poor housing conditions

Howard University students who took over the Blackburn University Center on campus last week are still fighting for answers from the administration as they protest poor housing conditions, including mold, rats, roaches and more.

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More than 150 students have been taking part in the sit-in for over a week now with many camping in tents outside the Blackburn Center.

"It is not a normal college experience to be living with mold and having respiratory issues and safety hazards in our living spaces," says Howard sophomore Thandiwe Abdullah.

Students say living with rats, roaches, mushrooms and mold are just some examples of what kind of housing conditions they're exposed to at Howard.

Videos sent to FOX 5 show water pouring out of pipes, expired air filters with mold and mildew and mushrooms growing on ceilings and walls.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Howard University students protest poor housing conditions on campus

They tell FOX 5 that workers have come in to clean and sanitize their rooms, but with little improvement.

"After they left, I noticed the mold grew back again this morning and they never cleaned out the mold in the AC and I can’t even live in there anymore," one student said.

Students say they want an in-person meeting with administrators by the end of the month, voting power for student representatives on the Board of Trustees and further discussion of housing plans for future students.

FOX 5 reached out to Howard to ask for an interview and was given copies of the emails sent out to students mentioning efforts to go door to door and address maintenance issues. 


The Board of Trustees also said in a statement:

"Simply put, we hear you and we continue to welcome your viewpoints on all matters pertaining to Howard."

However, students disagree.

"Most of the response has been very hostile," Abdullah told FOX 5. "I was met with police, I was met with public affairs, the principal's office – they told me I was making the value of the Howard degree go down. I’m in debt to be here and we are living in what I would say are dilapidated dorms." 

Despite threats of expulsion and suspension, students say they'll do whatever it takes to address what they say is decades of negligence towards living conditions at the university.

"We’re not leaving until our four demands are met. There's no compromise," one student says. "No school wants to be protested against, but it's not like we are out here because we want hot tubs in our dormitories; it's because we want livable conditions." 

Gucci Mane was set to perform at Howard this week for their homecoming week, but pulled out of the event to show support for protestors. 

READ MORE: Howard University Homecoming closed to alumni due to COVID-19 pandemic

The university asked for $240 million in federal funding for this year's budget request, according to the Department of Education.

The report says the university plans to spend $49 million for construction, but didn't clarify if that meant new developments or improvements towards current facilities.