Hampton students held a town hall meeting on February 20th to address and confront long-standing issues the student body has had with the university’s administration. Students say there is a lack of attention to sexual assault cases, negligence to maintain safe emergency call equipment, unsanitary dining halls and rampant mold in dormitory buildings.

During the town hall, things became heated when a student shared her experience with being sexually assaulted as her school’s administration stood by and took no action and the school’s president, William Harvey, berated the student. The tense exchange captured on video.

Additionally, Hampton’s Title IX coordinator is President Harvey’s daughter, and many students feel as though her occupying such a position represents a clear conflict of interest, especially given her father’s response to a sexual assault victim. After a 2014 incident during which a professor was charged with sexual battery, you would think Hampton would follow in the footsteps of Howard University, which instituted Title IX training for its students in 2014.

But students at Hampton still feel as though their institution is dragging its feet on being held accountable and organized a march and sit in that ended up on President Harvey’s front lawn.

The university’s vice president for business affairs and treasurer, Doretha Spells, responded to student allegations of unsanitary dining conditions and a letter from the Student Government Association by reminding students that neither the dining hall nor Gourmet Services has failed a health inspection and brought up planned renovations for dining halls. But the students are not placated by what they say are hollow proclamations given that some still report finding bugs on their food and are being met with silence when they issue maintenance requests.

Students are using social media, mostly Twitter to document their issues with the university and to put pressure on the administration, a tactic that has worked well in the past for other HBCU students when faced with a less than attentive administration. Let’s see how quickly Hampton University addresses these pressing concerns as word spreads and student discontent with the administration grows.

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