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Umoja: Howard’s Challenge

What is Howard University’s Biggest Challenge?

Senior biology major, Jerome Joseph, is the Howard University Student Association vice president.

Senior biology major, Jerome Joseph, is the Howard University Student Association vice president.

The question presented in the title of this piece is an inevitable thought when considers Howard University. We all love this place, but at the same time there are certain shortcomings that are very visible. With that being said, I believe that Howard University’s biggest challenge is ITSELF.

The university is in a very delicate state right now. We are at the end of President Sidney A. Ribeau’s first year in office, over 300 employees left the parted ways with the university via the VSIRP (Voluntary Separation Incentive Retirement Program) and one of the largest classes to date has begun their matriculation at the Mecca. President Ribeau prides himself on being students first and he has made that his primary agenda since setting foot on campus last year. However, historically every Howard University President who has claimed to be “students first” has been usurped out of the position by students.  This may be to no fault of his, but to that of those who surround him.  Everyone surrounding him is not in line with the vision that he has for the university and we urge him to realize this fact because it could be his downfall. We may have a new President, but most of the same old people from H. Patrick Swygert’s regime remain behind the scenes. The time is now for new blood here at Howard University.

Students are sick and tired of being sick tired. We are tired of hearing that a new dorm is in the works or that the wireless for College of Dentistry is on the way. Dr. Ribeau says that we must renew the legacy of Howard University and we totally agree with him. However, this legacy will not be renewed with some of the people who are in certain key administrative positions. There is a breaking point is close at bay. The time for diplomacy is nearing an end. Students are hurting and we hear your call.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Blackscholar permalink
    November 13, 2009 7:35 pm

    I’m still befuddled and astounded that the 13-member team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) leaving Howard University with these glaring platitudes as if Howard University is operating (i.e., qualitatively and quantitatively within the purview of curriculum instruction, the Administration functionality, and not including the Moorland Spingarn Research Center, campus safety, etc…) analogous with the fluidity of water.

    Point one: the MSCHE should have physically inspected the overall functionality of the Undergraduate Library (UGL) and Founders Library and they would easily seen the barrage of violations from: a) dangling ceiling tiles, b) exposed electrical outlets, c) mildew and ants throughout the entire library especially in the lower level, d) the atrocious lighting throughout the library, or d) the excessive heat in the entire library respectively.

    Point two: the MSCHE should have been intellectually honest to issue an injunction to Howard University to make them immediately remodel the UGL to the same level as all of the other “Research Level I” libraries. If such a correction cannot be made in a timely fashion, then, it should immediately have the “Research Level” designation revoked.

    Point three: the lack of availability of course at the undergraduate and graduate level (i.e., core classes should be offered more than once a year). Point four: how can Howard University offer various graduate degrees and yet graduate students have difficulty passing comprehensive examinations because no “structured examination preparation” is almost nonexistent within Departments and even the Graduate School. Not including graduate students having difficulty in assembling thesis or dissertation committees due to the lack of availability and qualified professor’s (as according to the Graduate School).

    In close, until outside entities such as the MSCHE is willing to be intellectually honest with its overall evaluation of Howard University, the university will continue its indolence, status quo thought processes, gradualism, and immutable mentality.

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