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Bearing Fruit: The 7-day Student Occupation of the Harvard Building Administration Finally Gets a Platform

The student occupation at Harvard University’s administration building has raised a lot of questions. In fact, it draws its inspiration from the previous occupations at historically africo-american colleges when they protested the misappropriation of financial aid funds.

HU Resist-led protest

The protest was led by student group HU Resist, and it went on despite the Harvard Board of trustees coming to a mutual agreement to listen and to agree to one of the demands being brought forth by the protesters.

In a tweet, the HU resist group boldly stated that they had reached their 7th day of protest while occupying the administration building. And they thanked their supporters as well as student participants for giving them the morale to continue fighting on. They further claimed that nothing would stand in the way of them getting the change they deserve.

Meeting at the Negotiation table

In a response, the university board decided to take into consideration one of the students nine demands; that is, to provide adequate and efficient housing to each and every student under the age of 21. Furthermore, they are going to extend the housing deposit for the fall of 2018 deadline to May 1. This was as conveyed by the Howard student organizer of HU Resist, Alexis McKenney.

A Desire for change

However, the hundreds of students still occupying the administration block are adamant to leave the administration building until all their remaining eight demands have been met. One major one is the resignation of President Wayne A.I. Frederick.

The HU Resist spokeswoman, May McCollum, who is also a journalism major, said in a statement that the student body’s previous historical protests, including those of 1968 and 1989, were a pillar of inspiration for many of the students occupying the administration building

The protests kicked off after a thorough investigation the previous year unearthed that a majority of university employees were getting grants from the university in order to attend classes, while further pocketing tuition remissions.

Hence, making more money as compared to their education cost, and further pocketing the difference. The university itself affirmed the outcome of the investigation. However, they did not reveal the amount of money that was being misappropriated.

Meeting the housing demand

The allegations were brought to light last month after a well-known blogging platform Medium, unveiled the expose which since then, has been deleted. The Vice president of student affairs at Harvard, Kenneth Holmes, made a confirmation via email that there will be an extension for a deadline regarding the deposit for housing. Therefore, if a large number of students were to request for on-campus housing, the university would postpone the renovation of the Harriet Tubman Quadrangle in order to accommodate them.

The Quad, of which the name of the area goes by, has had about five dorms of housing and over 640 freshmen women, as the Howard website describes. In a statement, McKenney said that the eight other requests were still on the table and the students were adamant that they would not leave the building until all their other demands were duly met.

Confidence in the Harvard Board

Moreover, in a released statement, the Howard University Alumni Association expressed their full support and confidence to Fredrick as well as the board of trustees

In fact, Associate President Nadia Pinto stated the numerous benefits that the institution has received under the leadership of Fredrick; not to mention the four running years of faculty salary increases as well as the massive partnership of the university together with Google.

The board and administration also received support from the Howard University Council of Deans. For the students, however, they believe that their actions represent more than just occupying the Administration building. For them, it is the first step towards more radical changes in the future.

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