Letter of Concern, Howard Student Speaks Out
July 13, 2009
Dear Howard Faculty and Students:
I am a student at Howard University in Washington, DC. On the evening of Thursday, July 9, 2009 I witnessed a Howard University student being robbed in the West Towers parking lot. I was on the third floor of the Howard University Plaza Towers West with a peer around ten o’clock when I heard deadening screams from outside my friends window. After approaching the window, I observed a young female being dragged on the ground by a black male for her bag. Once the older male got a hold of the bag, he proceeded to flee the scene. I then proceeded to call 911, to report the robbery. While on the phone, I headed to the scene of the crime to make sure that the young lady was ok. As I headed to the back of the West Towers, campus police was also heading to the scene of the crime.
Many Howard students were sitting outside the Towers when the incident occurred; therefore many students were able to come to the young female’s aide and chase the robber. In the robber’s pursuit of fleeing the scene, he dropped the young lady’s bag, which carried a MAC laptop computer. Thankfully the young sophomore student was not harmed and all her items were returned to her. If it were not for the Howard students outside the Towers, the situation could have played out differently, being that campus police did not arrive in a timely matter according to my standard state of emergency.
I am writing this letter today, to not only make sure that Howard faculty, staff and students are well aware of the situation but to also report the fact that the scene of the crime took place in a poorly lit area behind the Towers. I am well aware that Howard University does not own the West Towers parking lot anymore; yet the fact that the lights in that parking lot do not come on at night is unsafe for Howard University students. Many students including myself walk through the parking lot to head to the African American Memorial/ U Street Metro at all hours of day and night. Other than the reflection of the lights off of Florida Avenue and the lights from the East Towers parking lot, the area behind the Towers is dark, which is unsafe. To make matters worse, I have never seen campus police patrol the dim area.
On Friday, July 10, 2009, I went to the Office of the Provost to fill out a student complaint form. Although Associate Provost Charles Gibbs was not in his office, I was able to speak with his Chief of Staff, Mr. Keith D. Miles, who was really receptive to my many concerns. Seeing that the majority of the students in the summer stay in the East and West Plaza Towers over the summer, I believe that there should be increased security placed in the area. There needs to be as much monitoring of the Howard area as there is during the normal school year. Although there might be fewer students on campus during the summer months, the safety of the students should not be an issue taken lightly.
I hope the information provided above is sufficient enough for your department to be able to investigate the situation. My contact information can be found at the end of this letter [Omitted by The Hilltop]. I thank you for your time and await your response.