Cancel Corvias: Howard Students Demand Immediate Action for housing crisis, reparations, and healthcare.

Howard University Board of Trustees & Administration

We the students, parents, alumni, and community support these demands for representation, transparency, safe housing, and healthcare as a form of reparations, for impacted students at Howard University.

Howard University students, in response to the immediate housing crisis, lack of transparency, and democratic voting power which includes student, parent, and alum representation, participated in a student-led take over at the Armour J. Blackburn University Center late Tuesday, October 12th, 2021. Following a town hall hosted by the Howard University Student Association in which the Administration was invited and the majority of whom did not show up, students felt the need to make their voices heard and for the administration's attention to be given to the current crisis at Howard University.

Issues with student housing (past and present) are directly connected to the urgency for Howard University to end its relationship with Corvias Inc., a corporation that has caused the current hazardous living conditions, resulting in a student-led movement for change. Corvias began their relationship with Howard University in 2016, after signing an almost 2 billion dollar 40-year contract. As part of the agreement, Corvias would “finance, renovate, manage, operate and maintain residential facilities on the central campus of Howard, including the East and West Plaza Towers, Charles R. Drew Hall, George W. Cook Hall, Harriet Tubman Quadrangle, Bethune Annex, and Howard Axis Apartments.”

Just like the other projects in which Corvias is involved; the Georgia University System and military base Fort Braggs Housing, Howard students have reported crumbling ceilings, brown water, black mold, cases of students developing mold-based asthma and respiratory illnesses, and a list of other harmful building issues and DC health code violations. These are hazardous conditions in which young people have been forced to live and pay thousands of dollars. Corporate greed related to inadequate housing has impacted residents in the DC area for decades. Howard University’s decision to partake in this greed and provide us students with inadequate housing only cuts this wound deeper. As long as Howard University has an active contract with Corvias, Howard’s housing conditions on campus will suffer.

We do not believe that anyone in Student Affairs or administration would be able to sleep inside impacted dorms while living in such chaos. Yet, they have asked us to do just that. And not only do they expect students to live, study, and sleep in this state of disorder, but they expect us to do so while paying for it. Howard’s administration expects us to continue to live in, attend school in, and pay for these conditions without transparency, without support, without a clear plan, without compassion, and without basic respect. Without any relationship or trust yet to be created, Howard University expects us to do so on empty promises and with harsh threats. They expect us to do so in the middle of a still active pandemic that Black people are disproportionately affected by. Most of all they expect us to do so quietly and without disagreement.

In addition to those put forth by the Blackburn Takeover Team on @_TheLiveMovement, we, directly impacted students, uplift these demands to Howard University in order to take full accountability for their actions against the student body.

To: Howard University Board of Trustees & Administration
From: [Your Name]

We the students, parents, alumni, and community support these demands for representation, transparency, safe housing, and healthcare as a form of reparations, for impacted students at Howard University.

1) Free housing for all students that identify microbial creations, including mold and other potentially harmful environmental growth as well as infestations of insects and rodents in their Howard University housing.

a) Howard must directly refund students for their housing fees for Fall 2021 and beyond.

2) Full compensation for the damaged personal items of students adversely affected.

a) Inspections and testing by non-Howard affiliated and agreed upon environmental health inspectors.

3) Howard University cancels and ends its housing contract with Corvias Inc.

a) Prior to the contract end, all students impacted should be rehoused in a safe environment. We are to be placed in safe housing that is NOT OWNED AND/OR OPERATED by Corvias Inc.

4) Students (already and those yet to be identified) get to self-assess housing conditions and request housing support based on their unique needs.

a) All Howard students have access to free on-campus health care, to support in determining the impact due to housing conditions.

b) These services include Howard Hospital emergency room needs, respiratory tests, follow-up care, and other services that Howard Students deem necessary.

5) Provide adequate educational resources to university students.

a) Universal uninterrupted wifi across ALL campus facilities and residences.