Intimidation and scare tactics do not place fear in the hearts of those who feel they are doing the right thing. When people speak up and speak out about what they believe to be injustice, help will come in the agent of spirited individuals to provide solace and solidarity.
In the case of the protests on the campus of Howard University, the students who are protesting have garnered the support of historic leaders like Jesse Jackson, Ayanna Pressley and Cory Booker. They have been covered by national, regional and local media outlets. The issues they are seeking rectification for will not be dropped overnight.
Repeatedly, Aniyah Vines, the leader of the Live Movement has stated that, “We will not leave until our demands are met.”
On Oct. 28, the Live Movement posted a press release after students and their attorney’s met with the University’s lawyers and provost. The document stated that, “Dr. Frederick and his administration would not even discuss their demands until they shut their protest down.”
Instead of disengaging with students sleeping outside in the cold weather our President should work to further engage student advisement in an official capacity. His efforts to meet with representatives from the Howard University Student Association (HUSA), Undergraduate Student Assembly (UGSA) and the Residence Life royal court do not go unnoticed.
However, it is not the sole purpose or intent of these organizations to advise the President on student grievances. The established HUSA bi-weekly meetings need to include a small group of 4-5 students who do not serve in leadership positions on campus. The people assembled should be cited as the President’s Board of Advisors.
It will be their responsibility to help develop new solutions and strategies to ensure student life on and off campus is contextually accounted for. They should bring forth collective complaints that numerous students are requesting to have addressed.
As those selected engage in open dialogue with the President there will hopefully be a greater level of transparency, accountability, and acceptance introduced in the relationship between administration and the student body.
We need and deserve to have a heavy influence on the decision making that will directly affect us in the near future. It is unfair to leave these injustices unresolved.