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Students Share Their Support and Concerns Of #BlackburnTakeover

On Day 24 of the #BlackburnTakeover at Howard University, members of the student body voiced their support and concerns towards the ongoing student protest at the Armour J. Blackburn Center.

Tents placed outside the Armour J. Blackburn Center. Photo Courtesy of Jon Musselwhite.

On Day 24 of the #BlackburnTakeover at Howard University, members of the student body voiced their support and concerns towards the ongoing student protest at the Armour J. Blackburn Center. 

While a long majority of the student body has been vocal about their support of the protesting students, some students shared their concerns with the protest, and what it will look like as the holiday season approaches.

Since the protest began, notable activists, politicians, and celebrities such as Jesse Jackson, rapper Wale, and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren have spoken out about the #BlackburnTakeover student protest. The protest continues to garner support from the student body, as students were seen gathered in front of the Administration building early in the afternoon on Friday, Nov. 5th. 

A Howard student, who prefers to remain anonymous, agreed with the cause the protesters are fighting for and stated, “It hasn’t affected me that much. I feel like Blackburn was the most accessible place for them to occupy because it’s within our student reach,” they said.

The Armour J. Blackburn Center is the main place where students can use their dining dollars, some students believe that it is a struggle to find other food options that don’t require them to go off-campus. As the protest continues, students have begun to share their opinions on the effectiveness of the protest.

Another Howard student, who prefers to remain anonymous, weighed in on the state of the protest. 

“I support [the protesters] standing up for their beliefs. The student center affected the students a lot more than the administration. They still get to go to work and come and go as they please. The administration building would’ve been a better place [to protest],” they said. 

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On Tuesday, Nov. 2, President Wayne A.I. Frederick released a message to the Howard community disclosing the effects of the student protests.

“There are many unintended consequences caused by the occupation of the Blackburn Center. The cafeteria has been closed, and as a result, our campus partner Sodexo has been forced to begin laying off some employees. Students have not been able to fully use their meal plans over the last three weeks and enjoy a space recently renovated for all students,” Frederick stated in the email. 

The University will be closing soon because of the holiday season, and students shared their opinion on the outcome of the protest. 

“I don’t think the issue will be satisfied by the holidays. Sadly, I think if the situation is not mitigated by the holidays they will either be left there or forced out. But, I hope that students are able to come back to a better campus,” Syeira Stephens, a sophomore human performance major said. 

Frederick gave the Fall 2021 State of the University Address on Nov. 5, where he hosted a live question and answer period for students and alumni and discussed his response to the #BlackburnTakeover protest. The university later released an email highlighting important questions and responses from Frederick. 

The full State of the University Address is available on the Howard University Youtube Channel.

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Copy edited by Jasper Smith

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