A Howard University student, who is also employed as a resident assistant in the university’s College Hall South dormitory, was recently accused of sexually assaulting another Howard student. The accusations have unveiled concerns about a rape culture on campus, which has led to policy changes at the university.
Scores of Howard student-protestors spilled into the streets last week, chanting “no means no,” as part of #TakeBackTheNightHU, a broad protest for all victims of sexual assault on campus following online accusations against the resident assistant. The student was accused of two sexual assault cases occurring in February of this year and in May of 2015. The AFRO is not publishing the resident assistant’s name because he has not been formally charged with a crime.
The demonstration was intended to “bring attention to the rape culture at Howard and hold the administration accountable for how they treat victims,” a flyer from the #TakeBackTheNightHU protest said. According to news reports, several rapes have occurred on Howard’s campus, but have not been thoroughly investigated.
Holding signs with the protestors’ demands, students crowded the lobby and front entrance of the dorm where the female student alleged she had been raped. They proceeded throughout the main campus.
The accused student employee was formerly employed by the University of California Los Angeles. According to officials at UCLA, the student was fired and banned from the campus in 2014 for falsifying information to obtain employment with campus police and “build social relationships” with young women on the campus. According to the police, the student was also banned from the school because of a domestic violence accusation and refusing to give back his employment identification.
So far, there has been no comment from Howard on whether the school knew the accused resident assistant had been banned from UCLA when the Department of Residence Life hired him.
In a statement to students March 23, in response to one of the demands of the #TakeBackTheNightHU protestors, the university said it changed its policy to include background checks for all employees, including students.
Howard officials said they could not release information regarding the rape investigation against the student. “We do take this very seriously,” Candi Smiley, the school’s deputy Title IX coordinator, said. She said the school could not release information about the case because it would be illegal.