Journalists at Howard University’s student-run newspaper ‘The Hilltop’ claim they’re being censored after coverage of campus protests has declined in the past week.
For the last three weeks, students have been protesting on-campus living conditions in some of the dorms and The Hilltop has covered the organized sit-in at the Blackburn Center since its inception.
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Tuesday, the publication released a statement claiming that staff writers were asked to take down stories about the protests due to “minor edits.” They were then told that all stories had to be sent to and approved by their advisor.
Reporters for the publication also alleged that although the school’s Administration wanted to cover an important student leadership meeting with school officials, they did not allow the meeting to be covered by Hilltop’s editor-in-chief. Instead, the Administration requested the managing editor and the digital media editor cover the meeting.
But Hilltop reporters say they plan to continue their steadfast and unbiased reporting from the #BlackburnTakeover protests.
“As the protest continues, The Hilltop will continue to fight for the freedom of the press,” the publication said in their statement. “We know that our rights have been infringed upon and we are currently being advised by members of the Student Press Law Center. Our one objective is rooted in our ability to accurately and unbiasedly report the facts.”
Using the Twitter hashtag #BlackburnTakeover, students organized a sit-in at the Blackburn Center, to bring attention to the horrid and unlivable dormitory conditions.
Students have used social media to share first-hand accounts of the issues that plagued the campus.
Photos of mold piling up in air vents and behind hanging photographs on walls were shared thousands of times on the internet. Students complained about roaches, rats and share stories of their friends being hospitalized because of mold exposure.
Chandler Robinson, a freshmen at Howard, revealed that she has personal friends who don’t have a place to live and their property was damaged beyond repair from mold exposure. She also claimed some of her friends had to be hospitalized from coughing up blood and issues with breathing.
Howard officials recently announced that they are placing all res halls in “hyper-care,” and go above and beyond to clean HVAC systems, change filters and be exceptionally responsive to maintenance needs going forward.
Blackburn Takeover: Photos Of Howard University Students Protesting Horrifying Living Conditions
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More mold photos a student at @HowardU sent me this morning of her dorm in the Quad. @fox5dc #BlackburnTakeover— Jacqueline Matter (@JMatter_TV) October 21, 2021
I reached out to @VP office to see if she has any comment on her alma mater’s living conditions. I also reached out to HU for a finance report but haven’t heard back pic.twitter.com/kP3i2xdICR
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NEW: Getting ready to go live at 10pm and another student walks by and asks us if we’re reporting on the mold problems at @HowardU - she then sends me these photos from a mold-covered picture frame in her dorm at the Quadrangle. @fox5dc #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/nmbOJLuL4E— Jacqueline Matter (@JMatter_TV) October 21, 2021
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After seeing all the post from #BlackburnTakeover, I have to contextualize the issues students have had at Howard because it is truly inhumane what undergraduates go through. This thread will go the history of civil disobedience and issues with the living conditions at Howard 1/ pic.twitter.com/vxbtzOZ1Bt— 🦂 (@scorptini) October 13, 2021
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For far too long the Admin at Howard has continued to ignore the cries and issues that the students have faced: mold/ mushrooms growing in their dorms, lack or support and responses from admin, no building for classes or tuition assistance. #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/6ROudKKDly— 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙋𝙖𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 ✋🏾 (@incognitovirgo4) October 13, 2021
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The students at @HowardU have always been changemakers and have made history as a result. I support their struggle for safe, dignified housing. It's the same struggle Black families face against gentrification all over DC. Power concedes nothing without demand. #BlackburnTakeover pic.twitter.com/NOTNjv0i7v— Janeese Lewis George (@Janeese4DC) October 19, 2021
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Day 5 of the #BlackburnTakeover at #HowardUniversity. Students from the School of Social Work set up a tent and have been out here supporting our Baby Bison. As social workers in-training, we must advocate for populations who have been neglected from our place of access. pic.twitter.com/MjskqjvHbf— Zekiiyah J. (@Zekiiyah_) October 16, 2021