Howard University responds to reports of campus violence

There have been at least three violent incidents on or near the Howard campus in recent weeks, including an incident on Monday that resulted in one student stabbed and others injured.

Howard University is taking steps to address several violent incidents that have happened on and around campus in recent weeks.

On Monday morning, a violent altercation involving “a bunch of D.C. locals” outside two Howard residence halls resulted in at least one student getting stabbed and several others hurt, according to NBC4 Washington.

According to an attack victim, “It was like maybe five, ten, twenty” perpetrators on the scene.

An electronic signboard welcomes people to the Howard University campus in July 2021 in Washington, D.C. There have been at least three violent incidents on or around the Howard campus in recent weeks. (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP, File)

One targeted victim recalled feeling “prepared to die” as he was on the ground getting stomped out, saying, “I just stopped feeling the pain at one point.”

“They just started kicking us, punching us,” another person said. “We were getting jumped.”

Although two Howard students managed to escape, some of their friends were left behind, including a stabbing victim who had to be transported to the hospital for further treatment.

“He got stabbed in the back, and he got just beat on by like 30 people, him by himself, and security looked at him on the ground, watched his body go limp, and just walked away,” an unnamed victim recalled, NBC Washington reported. “Didn’t call anybody; didn’t do anything.”

According to Fox 5 DC, the Metropolitan Police Department reported the suspects stole a pair of Air Jordans, an iPhone and some keys from the students.

Howard University Chief of Police Marcus Lyles said authorities arrested at least one juvenile carrying a handgun, NBC4 reported.

After the incidents, the chief announced several action steps, including internal and external inquiries. An internal investigation has resulted in the suspension of a lieutenant of the university police and the removal of a third-party security contractor.

The HBCU announced it will install more than 1,000 cameras around campus. According to school officials, safety lanes will also be put in place so that students will know which routes to take to ensure a security person is within 100 feet of them.

Fox 5 reported some members of the Howard community were uneasy following the recent incidents, another of which involved a 14-year-old boy charged with killing a construction worker on the campus on July 13.

After receiving word of the violent attack Monday, Howard University President Wayne Frederick curtailed his travel plans and returned to campus early on Tuesday to address the issue, declaring it a top priority.

The prestigious college subsequently conducted a parent-and-student town hall meeting, giving its attendees, their loved ones and campus staff a chance to speak.

In a letter to students, Howard University representatives also discussed an incident that allegedly occurred at an area restaurant on Saturday. They noted that they were aware of a video depicting a large physical altercation that was shared to social media and rapidly went viral. 

There were reports that authorities were minutes away when the mass brawl started, but they failed to stop it quickly, raising concerns about campus safety in general. The altercation is said to have continued for nearly two and a half minutes.

Howard administrators maintain that local teenagers, not Howard students, were the attackers.

“Maintaining the safety and well-being of Howard University students is our first priority,” Frederick wrote in the letter, according to Fox 5 DC. “We are investigating not only this incident but also our response to it. We apologize to our students who expressed that our public safety response did not meet their expectations of support and assistance.” 

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