The tense situation at Howard University between students protesting their living conditions and administrators took an even more dramatic tone as mediator Rev. Jesse Jackson had to be rushed to the hospital after taking a fall on campus.
The civil rights icon was present at the Washington D.C.-based HBCU on Monday (November 1st) to help students who have taken over outdoor space as well as the Blackburn Center in protest over the hazardous conditions that are present at the school’s dormitories and deteriorating classroom facilities. Rev. Jackson had just returned to give the student activists details on his meeting with the administration and Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick when he fell and suffered a cut to his head. The 80-year old tried to weather the brunt of the injury to inform the students of the details, but he was urged by protest leaders and his team to get medical attention. He was then rushed to Howard University Hospital.
A press statement from his staff confirmed that he underwent various examinations including a CT scan. “The results came back normal. However, hospital officials decided to keep Rev. Jackson overnight for observation,” it continued. His daughter, Santita Jackson sent out a message updating people on his condition and the negotiations. “Family, he’s resting comfortably & doing well: we thank u 4 ur prayers! Fighting 4 u is what he’ll always do. His goal is 2 ensure the well-being of@HowardU students: #MissionAccomplished,” she wrote.
Rev. Jackson did manage to secure a verbal agreement from President Frederick to allow students to end their protest without being expelled as well as a guarantee of an investigation of every dorm room containing hazardous mold. “He knows there is something bigger here, something bigger than all of us,” said Raegen Carter, media director for national HBCU coalition The Live Movement. However, she also noted that there needed to be more done by the university to meet the demands of the students who have been protesting for 19 days. “We got an answer but it’s not the answer that we’re looking for,” Carter stated. “It’s not the answer that we need.”