Atlanta, GA — Students from the campuses of four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta who peacefully occupied a popular spot on campus for nearly a week demanding a better quality of life at all HBCUs have ended their ongoing sit-in after the Atlanta University Center (AUC) presidents took “strides to meet” their demands.
The students from the AUC — Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman College — demonstrated by sleeping in tents on Clark’s promenade from Oct. 18 to Oct. 24. They stood in solidarity with Howard University while advocating for their own issues, including better housing quality, stronger and safer Internet connections, more cafeteria meal options, accommodations for commuter students and better financial aid support.
Some students have experienced living conditions that included mold in their rooms and bathrooms, lack of washers and dryers as well as air conditioning and heat. After repeatedly voicing their concerns, they felt the need to take it to the next level — a protest and list of demands.
- AUC presidents meet with student leaders to discuss a full assessment of student housing needs and quality of life
- Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and U.S. Reps. Lucy McBath and Nikema Williams meet with organizers to discuss the much needed $45 billion investment in HBCUs through President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act
- Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and U.S. Reps. Lucy McBath and Nikema Williams demand the Biden-Harris Administration release the legal memo from Education Secretary Miguel Cardona detailing President Biden's power to cancel student loan debt
Tents were set up in front of the historic Rush Memorial Congregational Church, the same church that helped students during the original Atlanta Student Movement in 1960, and several students camped out enduring cold weather each night committed to seeing the mission through to ensure institutions move forward in providing the resources for students.
Jameila Williams, a freshman political science major at Clark, said, "I'm out here today because I feel like it's ridiculous that students do not have housing and that students are homeless." She expressed that Atlanta is not the safest city to be in, and commuting is not the best situation for students.
Deborah Scott, a Clark alum from the first class of the consolidation of Clark College and Atlanta University in 1988, is the CEO of Georgia Stand-Up and serves as an advisor to the Atlanta Student Movement Takeover (ASM).
"We stand in solidarity with the students out here, and we are out here to protect them and to make sure everything goes right with these negotiations," said Scott.
The ASM said they’ve obtained meetings with each AUC president and as a result, “there is an immediate need to shift in strategy as we continue to fight for better housing, quality of life … we will no longer be occupying that space on the promenade. Our focus is now on the institutions outside of AUC and our federal legislation.
Alivia Duncan, a student organizer from Clark, said on Instagram, "After four days of nonstop protesting, rallying, advocating, and sleeping outside, the university has finally responded to the students' call to action by inviting the Clark Atlanta University student representatives of the Atlanta Student Movement Takeover to a meeting with President George T. French."
"With nearly all demands being met or acknowledged, we are moving forward with a positive spirit. Administration was very understanding of the concerns of the students and agreed that there was a need for improvements." said Duncan, and explained that the next steps for CAU are to get documentation signed to hold the "institution and administration accountable for their commitments."
To keep up with the movement, please follow @asm.takeover on Instagram.