A week ago Howard University students stormed the administration building on campus, enraged after learning that the school had misappropriated more than $1 million earmarked specifically for financial aid.
TheGrio went to HU campus to investigate for ourselves what’s really going on between the students and the administration on campus and why so many students are willing to take these bold steps in order to be heard.
What’s at stake?
News broke that an outside auditor discovered that six university employees fraudulently pocketed tuition remission and grants. The most notorious person implicated, however, is Tyrone Hankerson Jr., a former undergrad student whose alleged involvement in the Howard University financial aid scandal has made him an internet star for all the wrong reasons.
Hankerson, Jr. called in the help of Washington DC attorney James Walker to set the record straight and spoke out for the first time with Roland Martin last week to talk about being at the center of a Howard University scandal. Hankerson is accused of stealing $429,000 worth of money set aside for other student’s financial aid.
Hankerson told Martin exclusively that he’s trying to keep his head up, but worries about the backlash since he’s still a Howard University student.
“It’s been an extremely difficult time as you can imagine,” he said. “I am trying to remain optimistic about this situation although it has been a challenge, particularly about going to class worrying about safety and welfare concerns.”
Hankerson continues to deny his involvement and has not been legally charged. The students, however, don’t believe the blame lies with him alone. Many of them see this issue as one that is bigger than just one person.
What they want
Some of their demands include receiving a guarantee that the administration will be held responsible for campus finances, faculty and staff be held accountable on how they speak to and treat students and that they provide adequate student housing.
Another sharp demand is that Howard president Wayne A.I Frederick step down from his post. Frederick has no intention of doing so and has already said that Howard has made significant efforts to change their policies and procedures to ensure this never happens again. The reforms include reevaluating how grants are approved and more transparency for students regarding the budget for their financial aid awards.