Black Students Occupy Building, Demand Campus Police Disarm

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Howard University students entered their fourth day of a protest Monday in which they occupied an administrative building and demanded campus police disarm.

The Washington, D.C., students initiated the protest March 29 after the school fired employee Tyrone Hankerson, Jr., who allegedly stole $429,000 in financial aid money. But not all of the demands directly align with resource allocation transparency.

“We demand the immediate disarming of campus police officers and the formation of a Police Oversight Committee controlled by students, faculty, staff, and off-campus community representatives,” The Concerned Students of HU Resist wrote in a letter that has been shared over 2,500 times on Twitter.

The students want the committee to have authority over complaints filed against Howard University police officers, as well as the ability to review and advise the department’s policies.

The school “has a responsibility to cater to the specific traumas that result from systemic oppression” and demands an “inclusive attendance policy” that includes mental and emotional trauma, HR Resist insists. The protesters also want the power to propose and change university policies, as well as “propose and ratify all appointments.”

The group demanded the resignation of Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick and the leadership of the school’s board of trustees, but the university’s alumni council backed the president Sunday, according to WTOP. The alumni cited Frederick’s “many advancements,” including tuition refunds for students who graduate on-time, faculty salary hikes, and re-accreditation of Howard’s law school, as well as its medicine, dentistry and pharmacy college.

“The Board is currently in meetings daily with the students to discuss their concerns,” Howard spokeswoman Alonda Thomas told TheDCNF. “We can confirm that the housing deadline to submit a deposit for on-campus housing has been extended to May 1, 2018.”

As of Monday afternoon, approximately 75 students remained in the occupied administrative building, Thomas told TheDCNF.

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