Furious Howard students have been gaining recognition on several levels with coverage from celebrities, other institutions, and news outlets.  There has recently been a scandal where financial aid employees were fired for illegal use of financial aid funds meant for struggling students at the University.  Displaying their outrage, they held a protest sit-in in the A building to demonstrate student body solidarity and commitment to holding the University’s authority accountable for their misconduct. In an era where everyone is either hypersensitive and easily offended or equally “unbothered,” there has been both support and backlash for these passionate students. Some saying that protesting is destroying the school. It is never appropriate to instruct the oppressed on how to protest or how to combat adversity if you are not a victim yourself. Considering all the students who have been affected ALL students should be outraged, as they could have easily been affected as well.

As with many protests those involved, including the prominent group of activists, HUResist, have compiled a list of demands you can find here. It is evident by this list that the University has more concerns to address than just immoral financial aid practices. The university has a rich history of being a safe haven for black bodies, creativity, and minds. Many alumni have gone on to build empires and legacies of black excellence such as Thurgood Marshall, Taraji P. Henson, Toni Morrison, and Sean Combs. This is exemplary of the diverse talent that grows at Howard, stretching its roots beyond what one can imagine. The ugly truth that the Mecca must face at this point is that students will begin to lose faith in the institution if its leaders don’t take initiative to make amends on its wrongdoings. The students make the school and without the student body there will be no foundation for the head to support it.

In a time of crisis, it is inappropriate to poke holes in victims’ requests for better treatment. It was stated by Stacey J. Mobley, a Chairman of the Howard University Board of Trustees, that, “many of the concerns are inaccurate.” Would it be appropriate to question the compensation requests of a victim of armed robbery? Essentially Howard students have been violently robbed of their futures, education, and opportunities and then criticized when they raise their voices against injustice. Not only has the president limited communication with these weary students but a student by the name of Alexis McKenny has stated in reference to the board of trustees that,” The most that they had seen [of the demands] was what we had posted in front of the building”. Such behavior is not only negligent but anti-black as the current leaders of Howard have jeopardized the image of the institution, but hopefully not beyond repair. These actions stifle the growth of many hopeful young black students.

There have already been several instances where students have fought with blood sweat and tears to remain at Howard only for Howard administration to carry it in bucket and throw it back in their face. Many students had been left with no other option but to move on. Administration even told some to look into other schools if balances were “unsatisfied.” Fifty years ago, one thousand Howard students shut down the university protesting similar injustices for five long days. With many parallels between the different generations, such as their methods for protesting and reasons they are protesting, it is quite chilling and unsettling. From singing to keep their spirits up but remaining stern in their demands the torch has been passed to a new era of activists ready to enter the arena to slaughter the beast of malfeasance, misconduct, and misdemeanor. They say history repeats itself, much like a broken record, but let’s hope the digital version will eventually eliminate the scratch.

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