Howard University is currently in chaos due to a recent financial aid scandal. A Howard law student has allegedly embezzled $429,000 from Howard University’s financial aid office. A blog post on The Medium, which has since been deleted, claimed that a significant amount of financial aid money had been embezzled from the institution and a student and former employee of the financial aid office had something to do with it.
Howard student and former Howard financial aid office employee Tyrone Hankerson Jr. has been the center of attention since his name was released to the public late last month. Pictures of him flaunting designer clothing and accessories were copied from his social media, and he became the subject of a multitude of memes and think-pieces.
Although no one has been charged with the embezzlement of the financial aid funds, six financial aid employees were fired from the office due to gross misconduct and neglect of duties. Since the release of this information, Howard students have organized many protests and sit-ins through HU Resist, a student-run movement which challenges the flaws of their university.
Once they were made aware of the news of the financial aid scandal, students decided to host a sit-in in the universities administration building on March 29, which lasted nine days. During these nine days, students made nine demands, including the resignation of President Wayne Frederick and the entire board of trustees.
On the ninth day of the sit-in, students were able to settle on seven of the nine demands. Through this protest they were able to get the administration to freeze undergraduate tuition rates at the current levels. They decided to reshape their movement and focus on bettering the institution rather than getting a resignation from the universities president.
Although it may not be perceived this way, there are some that claim Tyrone is a victim in this situation. When questioned by ABC, Tyrone stated, “Please know that I have done nothing illegal or wrong. When the truth comes out, it will be confirmed that I followed all rules and protocol with the approval of the, then, financial aid officers in any grants, scholarships or awards given to me as a student who attended class all year round and traveled abroad.”
This statement is very hard to believe due to the fact that the funds “awarded” to him exceed the overall cost of his education for his time at Howard. Students at Howard feel as though this heist has affected many of them by depriving them of financial aid.
For students, it was devastating to find out that hundreds of thousands of dollars were being stolen by Howard University employees.Tyrone Hankerson Jr. has also recently filed a 10 million dollar lawsuit against the institution for releasing his financial information.
It is imperative that students get the answers to their questions. Although the investigation is still underway, the Howard University administration has agreed to most of their demands. It is important that these demands are met and that the University introduces protocol that will prevent a scandal like this from ever happening again.