Hundreds of Howard University students continued a takeover of the school's administrative building Monday, vowing not to back down until their demands are met – conditions that range from homework and class exemptions due to "mental and emotional" health issues to a plan to disarm campus police.
HU Resist, the students organizing the now five-day revolt at the D.C.-based historically black college, turned all four floors of the administrative building, including the president’s office, into an occupied “safe space,” barring any faculty or staff from entry.
The list of nine demands, sparked by a financial aid scandal, calls for the resignation of the college president and board members, as well as seven other demands – from specialized counseling to combating gentrification, FOX5 reported.
The group demands the university create a “grievance system” to monitor the actions and languages of faculty and staff toward students with marginalized identities.
According to the list, an “investigative body of students, faculty, and administrators” would handle disciplinary action from student complaints about “misconduct and harmful behavior, such as the use of sexist, classist, colorist, queerphobic, ableist, and xenophobic language.”
They also demand the university disarm campus police and form a “Police Oversight Committee” with university and community representatives to conduct investigations, advise departmental policies, procedures, and budgets, and manage complaints against sworn HUPD members.
Due to “systemic oppression,” HU Resist demands Howard hire more counselors – “who specialize in gender and sexuality, substance abuse, interpersonal violence, intra-communal violence, etc” – and implement permissible absence from class or homework assignments for mental and emotional health issues.
They also demand the university create a task force to fight rape culture and “implement a mandatory one credit course that is required for graduation focusing on gender, consent, sexuality, and sexual health.”
HU Resist demands a say in the Board of Trustees by student popular vote.
Howard trustees met their first demand for housing but eight demands remain unresolved.
In a press conference on Sunday, HU Resist organizer, Alexis McKenny, said members are “extremely confident” all their demands will be met, adding that “there is very little that we are going to negotiate on.”
Howard Alumni Trustee Rock Newman told Fox News the Board of Trustees met with students in the administrative building for more than five hours Sunday night.
“I remain optimistic about reaching a resolution,” Newman said.
University President Wayne Frederick has yet to meet with the student protesters, but has said he was “listening” to them and addressed the demands in a statement.
McKenny said they’re negotiating one demand at a time, adding that students participating in the sit-in should not be punished for missing classes because they are “carrying on the tradition of power, the tradition of activism, the tradition of resistance to oppression, and the university should recognize that.”
At least 26 faculty members signed a letter of support for the student revolt, while the alumni association backs the college president.