9-Day Student Protest at Howard University Ends With Agreement

Students occupying the administration building at Howard University in Washington, D.C., called an end to the protest after school officials promised to meet most of their demands.
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A nine-day occupation of the Howard University administration building came to end on Friday, after students said they reached an agreement with university officials who promised to meet most of their demands.

The announcement was met cheers and celebration, and students are calling the agreement a victory.

“This is a long time coming,” HU Resist student organizer Alexis McKenney said at a press conference Friday.

“It’s important for us to acknowledge that no significant change that has ever happened within the black community has happened without struggle,” she added.

Among the changes agreed to in the dayslong negotiation is an overhaul of the school’s sexual assault policy, the creation of a food bank to serve students and the surrounding community and a review of policies allowing campus police officers to carry weapons, WAMU member station reporter Patrick Madden told NPR.

“Today marks the next chapter of progress at Howard University,” Marie Johns, a member of the board of trustees said. “These commitments are meant to address the needs and are for the benefit and welfare of the entire Howard University community.”

The student group HU Resist led the sit-in that began on March 29.

Over several contentious sessions, student leaders hashed out a final version of a “Statement of Commitments” with members of the Board of Trustees. For days the two sides deliberated over a nine-point list of conditions. In the end, they compromised on seven.

One major win for students is an agreement by the board to consider freezing undergraduate tuition rates at current levels. Howard will also reexamine the adequacy of on-campus housing for students.

HU Resist had been calling for university President Wayne Frederick to resign, but eight days into the protest, they backed off.

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SOURCE: NPR, Vanessa Romo