BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The protest at Howard University continues as students demand policy changes after a financial aid embezzlement scandal came to light.
Student leaders spent more than five hours negotiating with board members Sunday night. Their demands range from adequate housing to disarming campus police and even the resignation of the university’s president.
Through chants, songs and speaking circles, hundreds of students have held the administrative building hostage since Thursday in order to get the university to listen to their demands. They’ve received support through social media and by donations of food and water.
The sit-in started after reports that the president, Dr. Wayne Frederick, knew about the embezzlement of nearly $1 million in the financial aid office to employees through unauthorized grants.
The university acknowledged that they launched an investigation and subsequently fired six employees, but students say they should have been more transparent.
“I believe that the people who serve us need to act with integrity,” Bruce Assist said.
On Friday, the university’s student association backed their demands.
Imani Bryant is one of the organizers with HU Resist.
“This university needs real institutional change,” she said.
On Saturday, the board of trustees agreed to one of the group’s demands concerning adequate housing for students under 21, but they say they won’t stop until all nine are met.
“We are prepared to occupy the administration building until we are more than satisfied that our demands have been met,” HU Resist leader Alexis McKenney said.
Fifty years ago, another sit-in was held to challenge the administration. After four days, their grievances were heard.
“We are carrying on the tradition of Howard. The tradition of activism, the tradition of resistance to operation and the university should recognize that,” McKenney said.