Sisters Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen, Howard University alumni, were at odds regarding campus housing conditions and administration issues.
Phylicia Rashad, the dean of the newly-minted Chadwick A. Boseman School of Fine Arts, and Debbie Allen arrived on campus on Friday to attend the university’s State of Address from President Wayne Frederick acknowledged the issues that have been plaguing students attending the HBCU.
When asked a series of questions as to whether students have been addressed about the issues, both Allen and Rashad had different opinions.
“In any country, when the students don’t speak out, the nation is not doing well,” Allen said.
“When the students do speak out, and they have been heard, and their concerns have been addressed, and it’s still not enough, what about that?” Rashad said, adding to Allen’s point.
“Oh well, that’s a whole ‘nother thing,” Allen said before asking Rashad, “So are their concerns being addressed?”
Rashad quickly ushered Allen into the building before they could answer any more questions.
“Ok, let’s come inside. I wouldn’t get into that if I were you,” Rashad said.
— alecia st. nicholas clause 🤶🏾 (@foreverambre) November 5, 2021
According to an unknown source, Frederick has not met with student protestors on campus since October 14.
It has been nearly a month (Oct.12) since students at Howard University have been protesting the housing and administration issues while also facing threats of expulsion from school officials, according to a report from WTOP News.
Student protestors started a petition to shed light on the housing problems under the school’s housing property management company, Corvias, including “crumbling ceilings, brown water, black mold, cases of students developing mold-based asthma and respiratory illnesses, and a list of other harmful building issues and DC health code violations.”
Corvias inked a $2 billion contract with Howard University in 2016. After citing housing conditions beyond livable, protestors demand the school terminate its contract with the management company.
“As long as Howard University has an active contract with Corvias, Howard’s housing conditions on campus will suffer, said in a statement outlined in the petition.
Protestors have also addressed the lack of student representatives gaining voting power on The Board of Trustees. They have demanded a written agreement to meet with students in leadership roles “to outline a housing plan to protect incoming students.”
The Howard University NAACP chapter expressed their solidarity with students in a written statement after protestors held a sit-in at the Blackburn University Center.
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According to the Washington Post, Frederick addressed the poor housing conditions during his state of address last and ensured students that his team was “working diligently” to fix these issues.
“We need to ensure that living accommodations in the residence halls are healthy and safe,” Frederick said Friday. “That has to be an uncompromising position that we must take.”
On October 28, ESSENCE spoke with a Howard student protestor, Erica England, who displayed the protesting site outside Blackburn. She explained that university officials had initiated measures to rid mold in the dorm rooms, but additional concerns remain essential.
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