Journalists Say Howard University Is Attempting Censor Protest Coverage

Howard University

Photo: Getty Images

More than two weeks have passed since students began protesting poor housing conditions across the campus of Howard University. Throughout the protest movement, students have shared videos of mold in dorms, water damage in campus building and other forms of damage. As a result, several students have moved out of their rooms and began occupying the Armour J. Blackburn Center or living in tents.

Making matters worse, the divide between administration and students appears to be growing wider and wider. Recently, student journalists took to Twitter to say that university officials have attempted to censor their coverage of the protest movement. According to a statement provided by The Hilltop, the university asked writers to take down their coverage of the second night of protests in order to make "minor edits." Not long thereafter, writers were asked to send all protest coverage to the student newspaper's faculty advisor before it was published. At one point, student journalists working for The Hilltop claim they were asked to stay away from protest coverage completely. Despite these challenges, The Hilltop writers appear to be determined to cover the protest movement honestly and to the best of their ability.

"The Hilltop is committed to delivering unbiased news with integrity. Our reporters will not stop researching and writing stories that provide full coverage on all issues pertaining to Howard University," The Hilltop tweeted.

Criticism aimed at Howard University administration did not end there on Tuesday. In a short tweet, the university seemingly blamed student protesters for its decision to lay off a number of service workers.

"We’re sad to report the occupation of Blackburn has led to an unintended consequence for the HU community. Due to the café being closed, some Sodexo workers have been laid off. We are committed to working with our students to avoid more repercussions like this one," the university tweeted.

As expected, a number of students, alumni and #BlackburnTakeover supporters took issue with such a claim.

"What the actual f---?," journalist Michael Cuby tweeted.

"Oh y’all are very sick in the head for this," photographer Myles Loftin added.

A number of public figures and elected officials have also stepped up to support students in their efforts to secure better living conditions. Wale and several artists signed to Gucci Mane's 1017 Records have stepped up to support students. More recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted in support the #BlackburnTakeover movement.

"For 22 days now, Howard University students have been protesting subpar, private equity-managed campus housing. Corvias is responsible for these conditions & it's another example of why we need private equity reform. I stand in solidarity with the students," Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote.

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