After seeing mold in the dorms, uncooked food and a lack of action in cases of sexual assault, the students of Hampton University are demanding change from their administration.
According to Essence Magazine, they conducted a town hall so the students could discuss their issues with the administration on February 21. Many Hampton students who talked to the Root said they felt the administration refused to listen to their points during the town hall.
In addition to the town hall, many students collaborated and wrote a letter to the university asking for better education on sexual-assault issues through their freshman orientation class, so cases are less likely to happen in the future.
Currently, the Hampton freshman course, called University 101, discusses test anxiety, dress code and personal finance, among others, but fails to inform freshman about sexual assault.
Because freshman receive no Title IX education from their university, Hampton has found itself falling behind other historically black colleges or universities.
Title IX, a federal civil rights law, was passed in 1972 and concerns equality of the sexes amongst college students.
According to the legislation, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The problem is that the current Title IX coordinator is Kelly Harvey-Viney, the daughter of the president of Hampton University, William Harvey. Many students believe she will choose her dad’s side over the feelings of the students, so they are calling for her resignation.
In 2014, a student claimed that she was assaulted by a faculty member, which is being investigated by the Department of Education Civil Rights Division.
Then, during the town hall, President Harvey attacked a student who was sexually assaulted on campus, an act that many students claim made them feel uncomfortable.
The Mutiny at Hampton University: Students are protesting a long list of problems at the HBCU, including sexual assault, safety, food and the lack of maintenance of campus facilities. https://t.co/erVSre3CHY pic.twitter.com/39rqCcRdkt
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 5, 2018
Even though there are emergency stations around the campus, many of them do not work, which affects the safety of not only the students, but the faculty and staff who work at the university as well.
Kimberly Burton, a Hampton University student, said to the Root, “Many of them—I’m standing in front of one of the emergency stations right now—just don’t work.”
After the town hall meeting, the administration made a statement in regard to the students’ issues.
They replied, saying, “Moving forward, we will continue to address the issues raised on a regular and consistent basis until all have been resolved.”
Due to Harvey’s actions at the town hall, the statement appears to be public-relations posturing since the controversy has already reached mainstream media.
Only Hampton students will know if any changes are actually being made.