Students unleash concerns, Hampton University implements changes


After two days of backlash following a fiery town hall meeting, Hampton University has announced new changes in areas of student concern.

Students say they addressed problems with mold, safety and sexual assault reporting at the Feb. 20 town hall.

Gerry Campbell, a senior, says he feels the administrators, including President Dr. William Harvey, dodged questions and didn’t offer solutions.

“If students continue to complain about it, it’s not solved,” said Campbell. “Students deserve better … It’s not like we’re asking for gold. We are asking for bronze at best. Why should Hampton University students have to endure this?”

Examples include pests and metal objects in cafeteria food and mold in several dorm rooms. Campbell says at least one student accused the university of covering up a sexual assault.

Since the meeting, students and alumni have posted their frustrations on Twitter using the hashtag #HUTownHall.

“We just want them to fix our issues and listen to us and instead of treating us like children, treat us like their students,” said Terris Johnson, a freshman.

On Wednesday, the university released a statement encouraging student to self-report any sexual assaults. The statement says the university’s Title IX office investigates all claims as required by federal law.

Doretha Spells, vice president of business affairs and treasurer, responded to the mold complaints, saying, “Due to the climate and a campus surrounded by water on three sides, conditions tend to be favorable for mold. However, when mold is brought to our attention, the university’s policy is to handle it within 48 hours of the notification.”

The letter also points out the Virginia Department of Health visited the university cafeteria on Jan. 18 . In a follow-up inspection Jan. 25, “these high level health officials confirmed ‘upon all inspections we have not seen signs of pests in either the self service areas.’”

“It’s almost like we’re not at the same school, us and the administration,” said Campbell. “Don’t act like everything is perfect when it’s not perfect.”

Dr. Harvey met with administrators and student leaders Thursday night. The meeting ended with several changes.

SEXUAL ASSAULT: Additional education for students to learn how to properly report sexual assault
FOOD SERVICES: Implementation of a group comprised of 10 students to monitor quality in the cafeteria, address considers and make recommendations
FACILITIES: Hire outside firm by March 1 to inspect for mold and mildew in all dorms, including individual rooms and common areas.
Read the university’s statement of changes following the town hall

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