WASHINGTON - Thursday night marked two weeks since students at Howard University took over the Blackburn Center to protest on-campus housing conditions.
Despite promises from the school that changes are on the horizon, students say they’re still waiting for the situation to be fixed.
Despite calls from the university president to end the sit-ins, students who spoke to FOX 5 said they’re staying put at Blackburn until their demands are met.
Meanwhile, other students say the living conditions aren’t the only issues with the housing.
Freshman Naquel Perry – who lives in Drew Hall – says he’s had it with the living conditions in the dorms.
"Everything is just old it’s antiquated the bathrooms are disgusting - it’s moldy, a lot of rust," he said.
Perry showed FOX 5 pictures he says were taken in a bathroom last Wednesday – ahead of residential wellness checks. The images show showers covered in mold.
Perry went back to the dorm for the first time Wednesday night – and was shocked.
"I see they painted over the mold and the showers with white paint but you can still see the mold," he said. "That’s what Howard likes to do they like to paint over issues they like to keep up a façade."
Another student, Justin Goris, told FOX 5 that there’s also a housing shortage. He says he’s one of more than 500 students who were placed off campus in College Park.
"Sometimes I’ve been on the shuttle where it’s been like I’ve been on the shuttle for an hour trying to get to campus," Goris said. "I have practice early in the mornings and the shuttle isn’t even running in the mornings like early in the mornings so I have to take Ubers from here to campus which are pretty expensive."
Goris says he applied for on-campus dorms, but when he received his housing assignment, he was left scratching his head.
"We weren’t told that like this was an option we weren’t told that some people may be placed in these off campus housing facilities," he said. "We were all kind of confused like we didn’t even know what these buildings were or where they were."
Howard officials say there is no housing shortage. Vice President of Communications Howard Frank Tramble provided a statement:
That is a false narrative. To prepare for school, the university proactively secured more housing knowing that the there would be an increased demand for housing in general. The university has had a long-standing policy to guarantee housing for freshmen, athletes, and special programs. This year we added sophomores due to the pandemic knowing they have yet to spend a year on campus. We, like many universities, have never guaranteed housing for upper classmen. The university currently houses 60% of our students which is among the highest in the region. We have secured housing at Mazza Grand Marc but it is to increase housing to support the increase in demand. That is very different then having a "housing crisis." We do not have a "housing crisis". We are currently at 94% occupancy which means we have 6% of rooms available still for use.