Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick has issued a statement to students occupying the Armour J. Blackburn University Center in protest of poor living conditions on campus. Frederick claims that students requesting mold be removed from their dorms are creating “health and safety risks” by occupying the Blackburn University Center. He also claims that students in need of clean, safe living quarters are impeding “operations and access to essential services.” To end his statement, Frederick stated that the protest movement dubbed the “#BlackburnTakeover” “must end.”
“There may be areas where we agree to disagree. That’s the nature of a vibrant community. However, Howard University’s proud tradition of student protest has never been – and can never be – invoked as a justification for tactics that harm our students. The current occupation of the Armour J. Blackburn Center is a departure from past norms. There is a distinct difference between peaceful protest and freedom of expression and the occupation of a University building that impedes operations and access to essential services and creates health and safety risks,” Frederick stated.
“The provost and University’s general counsel met with leaders of the student protest and their legal counsel and engaged in a discussion regarding the path forward. As conveyed at that meeting, the University is willing to continue engaging in substantive conversations with student protesters and leaders regarding their expressed concerns. The occupation of the Blackburn center must end.”
Despite Frederick’s warning, students appear to be unfazed. Throughout the day, students have continued to post photos and videos of mold, discolored water, leaks and much more. Not to mention, students spent the previous week documenting various issues leading up to homecoming.
Students have also accused members of the university’s administration of covering up certain aspects of the school’s housing situation by having cleaning crews come through dorms with cameras following closely behind.
As the #BlackburnTakeover protest movement nears its 15th day in action, it appears that there is no end in sight.