Former Howard University Employee Accused of Stealing More Than $400k in Finanical Aid

Howard University’s financial state has faced skepticism for several years, but it has only been recently confirmed that there is, in fact, a financial crisis at the university. At the beginning of this spring semester, many Howard students expressed discontent with their housing situations. Howard University allegedly promised more housing than what they were able to provide, leaving many students to find off campus housing in the downtown D.C. area. A sophomore at Howard University, named Kendal Hall, wrote a letter to the university president, Wayne A.I. Fredrick, and expressed anxiousness regarding the situation. “Please, just let us know what we are supposed to do?” Hall writes in her letter. President Frederick emailed her back, telling her that her that her email was inappropriate and the housing situation would be handled by the correct offices.

From Kendal Hall on Twitter

Students later began saying that they were denied financial aid, which created a conversation about the misappropriation of funds. Six employees were fired for embezzling school funds a year prior. It was found that between 2007-2016, some employees were given university grants. However, the amount being disbursed from the school exceeded the cost of the employee’s bills’. Now, students are pointing out that the misuse of funds didn’t seem to end there.

Tyrone Hankerson, former Howard University student and employee, is being accused of stealing more than $400k in financial aid. Howard students noticed that Hankerson’s Instagram account showcased him wearing designer apparel. Students even pointed out a particular caption on a post that stated, “another semester down, another bag secured.” Hankerson has stated that he did not commit these accusations, and he received $429k in grants to cover the cost of his undergraduate and law degrees- both from Howard University. He has since deleted his social media accounts.

    

From Steven London on Twitter

Howard University students engaged in a nine-day sit-in at the university’s administration building. Students occupied the building from March 29- April 6. They have refused to leave until these demands were met:

  • We demand that Howard University provide adequate housing for all students under the age of 21 and extend the Fall 2018 housing deposit deadline to May 1.

  • We demand an immediate end to unsubstantiated tuition hikes and complete access to administrative salaries.

  • We demand that Howard University actively fight rape culture on campus in an effort to prevent sexual assault.

  • We demand that Howard University implement a grievance system to hold faculty and administrators accountable in their language and action toward students with marginalized identities.

  • We demand that Howard University hire more counselors and implement an inclusive attendance policy that accounts for mental and emotional health issues.

  • 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.

  • We demand that Howard University allocate more resources toward combating food insecurity and gentrification within the LeDroit-Shaw community.

  • We demand the immediate resignation of President Wayne A.I. Frederick and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

  • We demand that students have the power to democratically influence the decision of the administration and the Board of Trustees by way of popular vote.

 

From Fox 5 DC

The university has agreed to some of the demands, such as providing adequate housing for students under 21 and extending their housing deadline until May 1.

Howard’s financial crisis is leaving many to question the future of the university, seeing as it is very reminiscent of Morris Brown College. Located in the Atlanta University Center, Morris Brown College lost its accreditation in 2002 and went bankrupt a year later after the embezzlement of funds by the university president and other officials. Loss of accreditation meant that Morris Brown students could not receive financial aid, and the enrollment dropped by more than 80%. Although the university is still in operation, it has less than 50 students in attendance.

From Atlanta Magazine

As of April 9, Hankerson is now suing Howard University for $10 million, because he said they failed to protect his financial documents amidst the accusations. He said he has lost his job and has needed to see a therapist.