Local News

Shaw students protest living conditions

Posted December 4, 2008

— More than 120 students at Shaw University held a silent protest on Thursday to draw attention to poor living conditions on campus.

The students marched from the student union to the administration building. Taping their mouths shut, the students sat in President Clarence G. Newsome’s office for about an hour until he returned. Newsome discussed the issues with the students.

Sophomore Jessica Clark brought photos of her dorm to show how she and others are living.

The photos of an aging women’s-only dorm showed rusty, moldy air vents, missing floorboards and moldy shower curtains. Students said the dorm is the worst example of living conditions at the school.

“I can’t even believe it myself,” Clark said.

Students also took issue with the recent firing of a chaplain at the university, which was founded by a Baptist minister.

“You got rid of someone who was our life coach, somebody there for us 24/7 to go to him about everything, and you get rid of him,” Clark said.

Shaw Executive Vice President Martel Perry said the university is trying to “figure out how to balance cost with expenses” right now.

“We don’t have the resources to deal with all the issues at the same time,” Perry said.

"Shaw University completely supports student engagement and is pleased that the students are addressing their issues of concern with passion and commitment about their educational environment and their futures. This helps the institution to fully recognize that new ways and methods coupled with provisions for better living conditions need to be quickly formulated and developed,” Newsome said in release.

University officials said in a formal statement that the school, like many other institutions during this economic downtown, is “undergoing an intense evaluation of methods to reduce expenses that will result in providing the best educational environment and experience possible.”

Newsome said he will meet with students weekly to try to resolve some of the issues quickly. He has also offered to show the students written documentation of the progress being made.


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  • flashlight Dec 9, 2008

    Shaw has done a great job restoring some of their historic buildings on S. Wilmington St. Looks like they've also got another building going up, too. Seems they should have some money in there for reasonable living conditions on campus.

  • NE Raleigh Dec 9, 2008

    Sound like public housing. Can't expect much more. Get a job and live off campus.

  • eric52272 Dec 9, 2008

    these people always complain about govt housing

  • joco cruiser Dec 9, 2008

    My thoughts are that Shaw should have never allowed the conditions to deteriorate this far to begin with. What ever happened to "upkeep"? It is Shaw's fault that the repairs are happening during n "economic downturn".

    I agree with the NAACP steping up to help rather than to condemn YT.

  • makeitright Dec 5, 2008

    The students did a great job to get their point across. Now lets see if the administration follows through with a cleanup effort. Would be interesting for WRAL to follow up in three months to see the progress. On another point - I wonder if the head of the school is like the CEOs of most corporations and is making a fortune and telling everyone how the school can't afford to fix things that are broken or need maintenance...?

  • issymayake Dec 5, 2008

    Allocations of funds is a touchy, touchy subject. Shaw's tuition is bargain basement for a private university, at slightly less than 20K a year.

    Queens College in Charlotte is nearly 30K; Wingate is nearly 26K; and NC Wesleyan is 26K. Perhaps if the students were willing to bear a slight increase in their room fees (which are dirt cheap at 1700 a semester), all of those needed repairs can occur.

  • Picaflora07 Dec 4, 2008

    The bathrooms in dorms DO have housekeeping - at least they did at State. While some of the drains and bathroom floors were old and looked dingy, they were no where near in that bad of shape. Good for the students for taking action to get something done! So many people in my generation would just get on a message board and whine about it.

  • Realthoughts Dec 4, 2008

    I think this would be a good opportunity for the NAACP to step up and do something rather good instead looking for the next something controversial thing.

    I call on the NAACP to make a change for this university in need!

  • gotsomesense Dec 4, 2008

    This looks like some of the things I've seen while working at ECU. Old buildings do present certain challenges.

    I'm in agreement with some of the others, a good cleaning would go a long way and so far as I know there are not any maids in a dorm building.

    And mold that has no infiltrated into insulation or sheetrock in walls CAN be cleaned and killed. As long as it is not embedded in a porous surface such as those above, it can be cleaned!

  • hollylama Dec 4, 2008

    Mismanagement of funds and nepotism is a rampant problem at historically black colleges. There needs to be more accountability and the president should take a pay cut in this struggling economy. His home is nicer than these dorms by far.