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Gentrification Makes Its Way to Howard University

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Gentrification Makes Its Way to Howard University

Photo found at US Department of State: bit.ly/2GTzvck

Photo found at US Department of State: bit.ly/2GTzvck

Photo found at US Department of State: bit.ly/2GTzvck

Takier George ‘20, Staff Writer

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Howard University, a well known Historically Black College/University (HBCU), has recently been having conflict with some of their surrounding D.C. neighbors. Students are outraged that many people who don’t attend Howard walk their dogs on the campus’ Yard. Students have taken to the media to get their message out, and received some not so friendly comments.

Let the record show that Howard University is a private institution. Before this year, Howard students were fine with the dogs being walked on the Yard, but recently, dog owners have not been picking up their pet’s poop.

Whether the letter writer realized it or not, walking a dog through the campus meant entering a complicated debate about race, gentrification and cultural norms.”

— The Washington Post writer, Tara Bahrampour

The president of Howard, Wayne A. I. Frederick, has issued a statement to Howard students and families. In an email, the president wrote “we recognize that service animals are a necessary aspect of modern-day life and we will accommodate them as needed…We appreciate pet owners respecting our campus by not bringing pets onto the private areas.”

The ongoing debate has sparked conversation of gentrification and racism. The Guardian said, “the area in question, the Upper Quadrangle, or the Yard as its known to students, is a large expanse of green space, has historical markers of black culture and is the site of homecoming celebrations.” This community of color is being taken over by animal waste, and Howard students and alumni feel disrespected.

Students have taken to Twitter to share their take on the whole situation.

A resident of housing near the university wrote to a website and it reads as follows from the Washington Post: “Dear PoPville, I had a bad experience with my (well-behaved, chill) dog on Howard University Sunday around noon. We were walking through campus when a group of students started screaming at us that dogs weren’t welcome on campus. One girl yelled, “This a closed campus, I’m going to call the cops on you.” The students continued to scream at us and follow us for around five minutes. Is there a policy against dogs at Howard?”

The Washington Post also said that “A university representative said Howard has no rule banning dogs from campus. But the historically black institution is in the center of a city that has rapidly been growing wealthier and whiter, and whether the letter writer realized it or not, walking a dog through the campus meant entering a complicated debate about race, gentrification and cultural norms.”

One video response in particular, from a resident, stood out above the rest. In the video, resident Sean Grubbs-Robishaw said that the campus is “part of D.C., so they have to work within D.C., so if they don’t want to be within D.C., they should move the campus.” This statement caused even more anger from Howard students and alumni. As a result, the hashtag #HowardWontMove was created.

So far, no compromise has been made, and the conflict seems to have no near end in sight.

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Gentrification Makes Its Way to Howard University