HU Students Protest Tuition Hikes
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 19, 2012 08:11
As the Alma Mater resounded across the yard of Howard University’s campus, so did the voices of student protesters at noon on Thursday. Surrounded from a distance by campus police, about 20 Howard University students demonstrated the first of a series of protests against recent increases in undergraduate tuition rates.
“We’re out here to insist that the focus of the administration is changed… massive tuition hikes that we’re facing are the direct result of a top-down University scheme,” said Jack Solano, a junior political science and philosophy double major. Solano was the protest coordinator and currently serves as the Co-Coordinator of the HU Philosophy Club.
The goal of Thursday’s protest was to start a conversation between students and administrators about issues within the university. For over an hour, students like Tierra Dunnes devoted their time to shouting chants, holding up signs, and discussing their wants and needs from the institution.
Student and professor complaints ranged from wanting cleaner bathrooms and wanting to see student and government funds invested into institution improvements to the quality and safety of dorm life. The big issue highlighted the salary increases of Howard’s top employees and the visible lack of funds for improvement of the university’s campus. Fiscal reports show that university president Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D. has seen a 198.4 percent pay increase since he began at Howard in 2008.
However, some protesters came out for more than tuition and pay cuts. Philosophy professor Richard Jones came to the protest dressed as “Black Socrates” in celebration of World Philosophy Day. Jones’s Socrates attire was symbolic of the justice sought by the ancient philosopher.
“Socrates was persecuted by the Athenian elite…In HBCUs in the 21st century students are not receiving justice, and what Socrates’ fight with the Athenians was about, was justice. And so as a professor I’m concerned about my students. Not just whether they can pass my exams, not whether they’re just being educated but whether they’re receiving equity that is value for their tuition and what they’re paying for and getting the kind of education that is equal to any other great university in the world,” said Jones.
When asked, chief deputy officer Joy declined to comment but later made an announcement acknowledging the rights of protesters and requesting that the protest be peaceful. The original location of the protest was to be inside of Locke Hall, but campus police blocked the doors so that protesters could not enter the building. Instead, the protesters began in front of Locke Hall, traveled to the flag pole, marched across the yard and eventually ended in front of the Administration building.
See Video from the Protest Below