December 8, 2021

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Students set up a city of tents to protest the university's living conditions

Students set up a city of tents to protest the university’s living conditions

– I expect to live in a place where I feel safe and secure, but the boarding school has become a health hazard, says student Lamia Murray. News letters.

The 18-year-old is a student at Howard University in Washington and one of many who have moved into the tents because they think the living conditions are too poor.

Students talk about how water intrusion, mold, insects and rodents endanger their health. Murray believes poor facilities are the cause of the respiratory infection she suffered earlier this year.

Every morning I woke up with a cough I didn’t have when I went to bed the night before, and had trouble breathing at night, says Murray. She says many of her alimony inquiries have not been addressed.

One Twitter user posted a video in which she wrote that she is cursed with terms.

Mold grew under the microwave, on my bed, in my wardrobe, behind the mirror, in my fridge, writing.

occupied the building

Since October 12, Murray and dozens of other students have taken charge of Blackburn University Center, a student center and cafeteria on campus, where they are now not allowed to run the university.

A sign was hung outside the building that read “Enough is enough.” Students take turns guarding the entrances to the center. Inside the guarded doors, ABC wrote, some sleep in sleeping bags, others study or eat food they received from local civil rights groups.

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“The entire Blackburn family is allowed in and out of the building,” said student Murray.

They do not allow outsiders to enter.

We try to keep students safe and keep everyone in an atmosphere where they feel comfortable talking about what’s happening on campus, she says.

The university warned students residing in the building that the demonstration was against the university’s code of conduct for students and that the students were at risk of expulsion. This was stated in an email to which ABC has been granted access.

responds to accusations

According to the university, they registered 34 inquiries related to the suspected mold. ABC says it makes up 0.67 percent of the university’s household.

“Student welfare has always been one of Howard University’s top priorities, and we have always supported students’ right to peaceful protest,” Frank Trumbull of the university told ABC.

He says they actively scrutinize student inquiries.

“Although there have been only a few documented inquiries, we actively seek to look for any problems that may be in the bedrooms by going door-to-door to get an overview of each room,” says Trumble.

He also says that students will be given temporary rooms while they solve problems.

In an email to students, the university acknowledged the presence of mold in some buildings, but emphasized that the problem was not widespread. They write that they hold the external supplier fully responsible and that they are working with the maintenance.

Long, hot and humid summers, high temperatures and high humidity are environmental factors that create climatic conditions that promote mold growth. We’ve listened to students’ concerns, and we’ve been responsive, says Cynthia Evers, vice president for student affairs at the university.

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