Updated: Sep 16
Photo By: Duane C. Fernandez Sr. / Hardnotts Photography L.L.C
Students at Bethune-Cookman University are fed up with deplorable living conditions and demand change. On Monday students protested on campus in front of White Hall and the Larry R. Handfield Athletic Training Center and protested some more with a larger crowd.
Students complained about mold, campus meals, the lack of hot water, broke down buildings, broken air conditioners, rodents and more.
Students are calling for the board of trustees to go including Chairman retired Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. They are also calling for Ed Reed to be installed as head football coach. The school stopped contract negotiations with Reed after his social media posts criticizing work conditions at the school and school leadership. Freshman Saeeda Suber said, “My door is broken, and I often can’t get in my room. Mold is in showers, halls and restrooms. Every dorm has some type of mold. I pay thousands of dollars to be here and living standards are low.”
“When I first got here, I was sick because of the mold. I was supposed to get a refund. They took it. The café runs out of food and serves raw food. They get money and don’t take care of the students. We shouldn’t be treated this way. Everyone is responsible, especially whoever handles the finances. They don’t care about students. They care about money.”
In a statement released Tuesday evening, Interim President Dr. Lawrence Drake said he was proud of the way the students handled themselves on Monday and that the school was working to address the issues and will move on from Reed.
“It was orderly and represented the best intentions of students sharing their voices. While social media and media outlets have seized on not continuing negotiations with NFL Hall of Fame player Ed Reed, many of our students chose to use this moment to voice their concerns. This administration takes no issue with this. In the coming days, I will meet with student leaders to ensure that we address many of the students’ concerns and answer their questions as honestly as possible,’’ he added.