Dozens of student protesters from several historically Black colleges and universities in Atlanta have joined forces to demand improved student housing, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. They are also urging Georgia’s congressional delegation to provide more funding for their institutions and student loan debt relief.
The protest began Monday afternoon outside the Rush Memorial Congregational Church at the Atlanta University Center, where students from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman College demanded the presidents of their institutions meet with student leaders to fully assess campus housing needs and quality of life. They also want U.S. Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and the state’s other elected officials to push for what students say is the “much-needed” billion-dollar investment in HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions proposed as part of President Biden’s infrastructure bill known as the Build Back Better Act.
The students cited issues in their dorms, including broken washing machines and other equipment not working. Clark Atlanta University had to put nearly 500 students in temporary housing before the semester started due to renovation delays, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Students carried signs that read, “All Students Need Housing. End the Housing Crisis” and “Tell Old Joe Raise the Budget.” Toward the end of the day Monday, some students pitched tents and prepared to sleep on a lot near the Robert W. Woodruff Library, saying they wouldn’t leave until their demands were addressed by their institutions’ presidents and federal officials.
Students said they were protesting in solidarity with ongoing demonstrations at Howard University, in Washington, D.C., which started Oct. 12. Howard students are also demanding improved housing, citing limited housing options and unlivable conditions on campus — including mold in some dorm rooms and rats and roaches in the Blackburn Café, a resident dining establishment.