Dozens of students at Howard University are sleeping in tents on campus grounds, saying they are putting their health at risk if they remain inside "unlivable" residence halls.
Students at the historically Black university said the dorms have mold, insect and rodent infestations, and leaky ceilings, and often experience flooding. Freshman Lamiya Murray told ABC News that earlier this year, she had a respiratory infection, and she believes it was caused by mold in her room. "I expect decent housing," she said. "I expect to be in a space where I will feel safe and secure, but the dorms became a health hazard. I was waking up every morning with a cough that I didn't go to sleep with the night before, and struggling to breathe at night."
On Oct. 12, student demonstrators took control of the Blackburn University Center as part of their protest over housing conditions, and draped a banner across the sidewalk that reads "Enough is enough." Howard University's student affairs division warned the students that they will go through a student conduct hearing and "face consequences up to and including expulsion from the university," ABC News reports.
The administration said that students affected by mold have been placed in temporary housing, and the university is working to take care of the problem. Vice President for Student Affairs Cynthia Evers said in an email to students obtained by ABC News that "long, hot, wet summers, record-high temperatures, and humidity are environmental factors that create the climactic conditions that foster mold growth. We have listened to our students' concerns, and we have been responsive."