Howard University students say new neighbors have been using the campus like it's a dog park

Gentrification, disrespect and disregard is the cocktail some Howard University students say is fueling some area residents to flood their campus in Northwest D.C.

As first reported by DCist, students say neighbors are walking their dogs, hosting picnics and more at the historically black college and university -- and now the story is heating up on social media.

The university has been silent so far about its official stance in regard to this situation, but students have plenty to say -- accusing neighboring residents of using "The Yard," which is the heartbeat of Howard's campus, as an outdoor gym or worse -- dog park.

In fact, in recent weeks, some students say they have taken matters into their own hands and confronted area residents they deem to be disrespecting the campus.

Howard University is a private school, although, parts of its campus are intertwined with the District. Several neighborhoods surrounding Howard have undergone recent redevelopment, which has attracted new, wealthy residents -- residents some students say have shown disregard for "The Yard's" historical significance.

"'The Yard' is for the students and although everyone loves pets, I feel like it's disrespectful to have the pets just running around, especially when there are several parks around here," said Malakhi Briggs, a sophomore at Howard. "If they come on 'The Yard' and they're just walking through, I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but I still feel like there are other ways to get around D.C. without having to cut through a college campus."

Sean Grubbs-Robishaw lives in the Bloomingdale neighborhood and admits to cutting through "The Yard" with his dog to quickly get to the nearby McMillan Reservoir.

"So, they're in part of D.C. so they have to work within D.C. If they don't want to be within D.C. then they can move the campus. I think we just need to work together and I don't think it should be a he or there or here… It's our community and that's how it should be," said Grubbs-Robishaw.

On Thursday, FOX 5 visited "The Yard" and didn't see any non-students on campus. In fact, the only dog walker we saw appeared to be a student.