Protesters – more than 200 of them, leaders said – had nearly the entire building on their own on the Washington campus Friday morning, except for some campus police and maintenance personnel, protesters Juan Demetrixx and Alexis McKenney told reporters.
"We try to secure the entire building until our demands are met and no one is allowed, unless they have a student card," said Demetrixx, a 23-year-old student at the historically black university.
McKenney said there was no steward in the building until late Friday morning. An administrator used to be there, but left, she said.
University President Wayne A.I. Frederick, in a statement on Friday, said he hears the students, looking forward to meeting their leaders and being "committed to meeting the needs of the students."
The Financial Assistance Scandal
An external examiner found out last year that some university staff received scholarships from the school to take lessons while also receiving a study discount ̵
The public heard of allegations of financial misconduct on Tuesday after the blogger platform Medium released an expose that has since been deleted.
"The exam found that the university combined grants and tuition fees The reimbursement exceeded the overall cost of participation and as a result, some individuals received inappropriate reimbursements."
The investigators were "grossly misconducted and neglected" dismiss, adds the explanation. The dismissed employees were not publicly identified due to protocol measures, Howard spokeswoman Alonda Thomas said.
Frederick said Howard made reform efforts after the investigation. "Significant new policies and procedures have been introduced to strengthen Howard's internal controls on grant awarding," he said. The reforms include new grant granting procedures and a way for students to have access to information on annual budgets for each category of financial assistance.
Demands of the Protesters
But the protest leaders say that they are also concerned about a number of other issues, including student wellness and gentrification in the neighborhood where Howard is located.
The demands of the group include, according to Demetrixx:
• The resignation of Frederick and the Board of Trustees. [196592002•Thestudents"havethepowertodemocraticallyinfluencethedecisionsoftheadministrationandthecuratorium"
Howard strengthens against food insecurity and gentrification in the region.
• Disarming the campus police and setting up a police supervisory committee
• Hiring more school counselors
• Creating a grievance system where the faculty can be held accountable for their "language and actions toward students and marginalized identities ".
Protesters receive food, water, money and other donations from classmates, faculty and community members who support their cause, McKenney said.
The university-appointed external auditors delivered their results in May, while Howard was in the midst of his own internal investigation. The university survey began in December 2016 and lasted until September, when an investigation of individual employee actions was completed and the six employees were dismissed.
Howard says it has more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
CNN's Marlena Baldacci and Christina Zdanowicz have contributed to this report.