The A Building Takeover: Time for Change!

 

It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

~ Assata Shakur

As a fellow Howard student, I came here with a dream: to educate myself, to become a software developer, and to surround myself with people that look like me. But, I was fed lies as I go through situations with financial aid and administration. We were all aware that Howard was deep in debt, but, not how much. Recently, an anonymous Medium article was written about over $1 million being misappropriated. The writer said that President Frederick being aware of the scandal since May 2017. As a result, six employees were fired. Employees were receiving discounts on tuition from 2007 to 2016 and were past the cost of attendance. According to the post, one of the employees, Tyrone Hankerson Jr., received more than $400,000 in financial aid over four years. He was given need-based aid and a “special scholarship” with the help of other employees.

After hearing this, students spoke out in anger and outrage. The main question is, why would was there never any real action taken? Students were having random fees added to their accounts or never had any aid in time for classes. However, it is much deeper than money. There are still students without housing. We have a President taking meeting with Trump and his administration. There are still dorm spaces with mold, mice, heating issues, hot water issues, and two dorms with boilers for heat. Administration do not have a stable handling with Title IX and students with mental illnesses.

On March 29th, students created a sit-in at the Mordecai Wyatt Johnson Administration Building. They vowed to remain there until the nine demands are met.

For the duration of the sit-in, the A Building was renamed the Kwame Ture Student Center. Donations were made from Howard students, students at other schools in the DC area, and community members for students who participated in the sit in.

After nine day, it was announced in a press conference that seven of the nine demands were met. There was an agreement to drop the demand of President Frederick and the Board of Trustees to resign. One of the demands met included the extension of the housing registration deadline to May 1. Read the rest of the agreements here or check out the graphic courtesy of HU Resist below.

Being there to experience Student Power was amazing. History was made and the space was so safe and inclusive. But, the fight will never stop and we have to make sure administration is held accountable.

My name is Samaria Colbert. I am a sophomore Computer Science major and Graphic Design minor from Cincinnati, Ohio. I attend Howard University and will be writing for my school chapter for 2017-2018. With my major, I intend to become a software developer. I want to provide efficient and better programs for businesses to succeed. In 5 years, I see myself as a black female Bill Gates in the making. I want to open my own company and create more jobs for black women in my field. I want to be my own boss.

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