Lawsuit Filed Against Howard University Claims School is Improperly Excluding Students, Alumni, and Faculty from Its Board of Trustees

Howard University was forced to vcancel classes Tuesday after a ransomware attack hit the campus. (Image: Twitter/@ @WNIJNews)

A determined group of Howard University’s alumni filed a lawsuit on Monday, Dec. 13, in D.C. Superior Court, accusing the university of improperly excluding students, alumni, and faculty from its board of trustees.

It has been nearly a month since the end of a 34-day student protest at the university. Students were tired of the poor housing conditions they were dealing with on campus, and in a show of nonviolent protest, they slept in tents outside of the Blackburn University Center. Howard University came to an agreement and has since pledged to maintain safe and high-end housing.

Now a new issue has arisen. In June, board Chair Laurence C. Morse said the body underwent an “extensive review” of its structure and determined “that our current process of governance and engagement across the university, from the board through various stakeholder groups, is not working.” This resulted in a unanimous decision to remove all affiliate trustee roles for faculty, students, and alumni.

During the protest, one of the students’ core demands called to reinstate alumni, faculty, and student affiliate positions to the university’s governing body. The lawsuit alleges that the board cast votes and made major decisions without its full required membership for more than a year.

According to the lawsuit since 1926, alumni have been represented on the school’s governing board and earned membership after the 1968 student-led protests that demanded greater transparency and accountability.

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SOURCE: Black Enterprise, Atiya Jordan