HU Resist: A Run Down of the Issues and How They Plan to Address Them

HU Resist is an organization that has a history of shaking the table in the Howard University administration office. They have protested issues such as James Comey speech at convocation and the housing crisis which left numerous students homeless. Their outspoken protests awarded them recognition from major news outlets such as CNN and The Washington Post. Most recently, they released nine demands for Howard University administration which includes the implementation of a grievance system to increase faculty accountability and the resignation of University president, Wayne A.I. Frederick. Members of HU Resist along with around 300 students have created history by participating in the longest occupation of the Administration Building in Howard History. We had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the motives and goals of the organization with members Ayanna Jackson, Imani K. Bryant, and Giauna Taylor.

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Katiana: How would you describe HU Resist to students who may not know what it is?

Ayanna: HU Resist is a space to uplift marginalized voices and an organization that holds Howard’s administration accountable. We organize around issues such as housing and white supremacy on campus, but we also focus on bridging the gap between the school and DC’s black community through a partnership with a local high school, a weekly free food pantry, and a coalition with community members surrounding the issue of gentrification.

Katiana: What are the top three goals of HU Resist?

Ayanna: We want to democratize our university: students have more of a say in the way decisions are made because we are directly affected by them. Student’s power is at the forefront of our movement. We also want to create a safe space for all black identities on this campus and the surrounding community. Lastly, we want to create a movement that is sustainable, one that continues to shift the climate of Howard University towards the liberation of Black people.

Katiana: Can you further explain the Howard Housing Crisis for those who do not fully understand the issue?

Giauna: The Howard Housing Crisis is the fact that Howard University has failed to uphold its dorms to the DC Standard living codes. Because of this, they now have to shut dorms down for repair, leaving a large portion of the student body to have to house themselves and/or live uncomfortably in spaces with 3 people.

Katiana: On Charter Day, HU Resist posted a letter calling for the re-chartering of Howard University on their public Twitter account. For those who may not know, can you describe the reasoning behind this call to action?

Imani: Howard University should be a place that serves the community and fosters a place of healing for the community. Howard should not only serve its student’s interests, but also the interests of the black community as a whole. As it exists right now, Howard does not do that. Re-chartering the university so that its fundamental purpose serves both the black community and its students is a way to better the university. That’s part of our goal as HU Resist: to better the university.

Katiana: A lot of students have noticed flyers calling out Howard Administration posted around various buildings around campus. Has there been any pushback in response to these flyers?

Imani: The biggest pushback from the flyers has been people taking them down. Sometimes people take them down as soon as we put them up. I think it has started a conversation around what’s happening on campus, and I’ve seen pictures of them in GroupMe. So, I think people are at least paying attention to them for the short time they’re up.  

Katiana: HU Resist is obviously very vocal about issues going on around Howard’s campus, but what are some action steps your organization is taking to change these issues for the better?

Ayanna: I think the first step is educating the student body on why certain issues are important, that we don’t have to be complacent, and that we deserve more from our university. Over the past couple weeks, we have been pushing a survey through GroupMe and Twitter evaluate what issues students care about most.  We are using the results of that survey to mobilize around those recurring problems. For example, before Spring Break, we had a rally from the Yard to the A Building for the Housing Crisis. We really want people to realize that student power is essential; we should have more of a voice on our campus.

Katiana: How would someone who is interested in joining the cause get involved with HU Resist?

Giauna: Someone who is interested in joining the cause could pull up to a Thursday meeting in Locke at 7pm and express their concerns for wanting to do more or even just reach out to HU Resist on social media or by email.

Katiana: Is there anything else you feel the Howard community needs to know about HU Resist?

Giauna: We do more than just call out Howard Administration. We have a food pantry and community survey outreach where we go into the community and ask people what they need and how we can help. The food pantry happens every Sunday on Georgia Avenue in front of Howard Hospital. This is to make a positive connection between Howard students and the community and to give back to the black community.

Lead Image Courtesy of HU Resist