A Washington, D.C., man is drawing backlash on social media for suggesting Howard University move after students complained that a popular area of campus was being used as a dog park.
Sean Grubbs-Robishaw made the remarks during an interview with a local Fox affiliate, telling the outlet that students are "in part of D.C. so they have to work within D.C."
“So if they don’t want to be within D.C., then move the campus,” Grubbs-Robishaw said. “I think we need to work together and I don’t think it should be ‘he or he’ or ‘they or he,’” situation, he continued. “It’s our community and that’s how it should be.”
Recent reports have came out that Howard University Students feel disrespected by residents using the yard as a dog park but this resident thinks the campus should be moved pic.twitter.com/stxHUWtu2X— Angie Ange In The Morning (@AngieAngeAM) April 19, 2019
Students at the historically black university had complained about an increasing number of nearby residents using The Yard, an area at the heart of Howard's campus, as a dog park. Some, according to local outlet DCist, attributed the activity to a side effect of gentrification in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“I find it very disrespectful,” Briana Littlejohn, who is a graduating senior at the university, told the outlet.
“You know this is a university. You know this is a historically black university. And you feel so entitled that you’re just going to walk your dog there?” she said.
"Truthfully, we don’t even walk on The Yard. There’s a pathway there for a reason. We don’t step on the grass unless there’s some special occasion, homecoming or whatever else," Raina Simone Henderson, a student government leader at the university, told The Hill.
"It’s definitely a sense of entitlement. It's almost as if the newly gentrified community doesn’t care about the cultural differences," continued Henderson, a junior at the university who is double majoring in political science and philosophy. "They’re so entitled to what they feel is a space that also extends to them."
Grubbs-Robishaw immediately sparked backlash after videos of the brief interview made the rounds on social media.
White people done finally got around to gentrifying the hood surrounding Howard University and now they have the audacity to see centuries of tradition as a road block for their PETS. White privilege has no boundaries.— Sylvia (@SylviaObell) April 19, 2019
Howard University: *exists in a space for hundreds of years— somebody’s son (@KariukiMachine) April 19, 2019
New Resident: pic.twitter.com/NNBFSydPTW
“Move the campus”. Howard University just celebrated 152 years last month. https://t.co/cZOBGc3LOa— AT (@primediscussion) April 19, 2019
Next time y’all need an easy example of white privilege...just link them to this guy demanding that a 152 year old historically black college should move so he can...walk his dog.— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) April 19, 2019
“We’re here. You move” is the 2019 White Privilege Campaign Slogan™️.
Henderson called Grubbs-Robishaw’s remarks “ridiculous” and said she thinks his comments “further conform to my point of entitlement to the point where an individual or an entire new culture that’s coming into this city and pushing another culture out thinks that they can say to move an institution that holds such historical and cultural prevalence to the black community in general [and] has been here since the late 1800s.”
She added that comments like Grubbs-Robishaw’s suggest oppression is “so set in people’s minds to the point where they even feel okay saying that a historical black institution should be moved to accommodate a new demographic that’s coming in with no understanding of what they’re coming into [and] who really don’t care about what they’re coming into."
Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement Friday that he is “aware of the concerns regarding dog walking across campus.”
“Howard is a private institution nestled in the heart of an urban city and we’ve shared a long-standing positive relationship with our evolving community for more than 150 years, which we look forward to continuing in the future,” he wrote.
Frederick added that administrators held “regular meetings that included students, faculty and members of the Advisory Neighborhood Committees [ANC] to cultivate a town and gown relationship” at the start of his tenure as university president.
“I recently reached out to our local ANC and Councilwoman to engage in a dialogue,” he said. “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.”