Howard University students stage sit-in after misappropriation of financial aid funds
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Howard University students have reached day two of a sit-in at the institution’s main administrative building after six university employees were fired over a financial aid scandal.

Students at the historically black university in D.C. first occupied the building on Thursday. A student group, HU Resist, has created a list of demands, including the resignation of University President Wayne A.I. Frederick and the executive committee of the board of trustees, NBC Washington reported.

Other demands include guaranteed housing for students under 21 and disarming campus police.

Students are now occupying the building and turning away administrators who are attempting to enter.

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"This is a feeling that's been brewing for awhile," Howard student Viennetta Davis told NBC. "This isn't a spur of the moment thing."

 

 

Demonstrations first began after Howard revealed that some university employees who received tuition benefits were also getting university grants from 2007 to 2016, meaning they had gotten more funding than the actual cost of attendance. The excess funds point to possible embezzling by the employees.

Howard said that six staffers were fired for “gross misconduct and neglect of duties” and that the university may refer them for criminal prosecution.

Demonstrating students told The Washington Post that they were concerned not just by the misappropriated funds, but a lack of transparency on behalf of Howard administrators.

The scandal wasn’t revealed until an anonymous article alleging an “office-wide scandal” in the financial aid department was posted on Medium earlier this week, Howard's campus paper The Hilltop reported. That post, which claimed employees stole $1 million in financial aid funds, was later taken down.

Frederick said in a statement to the Post that he became aware of the issue in May 2016, and then directed an audit of the financial aid office that was completed in December.

He also met with student leaders on Wednesday night to discuss their issues, but some of those students said they were left “unsatisfied” by the meeting.

“Some things just didn’t add up for us,” Howard University Student Association President Jade Agudosi told the Post. “More specifically, the timeline.”

A video of the Howard students singing Rihanna’s “B---h Better Have My Money” as part of the protests also went viral, with the singer sharing the clip on Twitter.