See bottom of post for updates.

The first major American student protest of the new academic year has erupted at Howard University.

Hundreds of Howard students gathered outside the historically black university’s administration building on Friday, demanding that Howard address problems with financial aid, campus housing, and other issues. Rapper and entrepreneur Diddy, a Howard graduate, urged the students on via Twitter, telling them to “Do what we did and take IT OVER!!!!”

Classes began nearly two weeks ago at Howard, but many students say their financial aid is still in limbo. Students also complained about a shortage of on campus housing and about administration censorship of the student newspaper, the Hilltop.

The Hilltop reported on Twitter that after campus security locked the administration building down the protest moved on to the university chapel, where Howard student government officers addressed the crowd.

A thirteen-point list of demands presented to the administration included

  • The resignation of the leadership of the Office of Student Affairs.
  • Immediate reforms to financial aid policies.
  • Bringing campus buildings into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Budgetary transparency within the university.
  • Expansion of on-campus housing.

The protesters asked that the administration respond to their demands by next Wednesday, September 9.

More on this story as it develops…

Update: Here’s a YouTube clip from the protest, and a longer, edited YouTube vid, which includes an explanation of the demands.

Tuesday morning update: The Hilltop, Howard’s student newspaper, is going to meet with university president Sidney Ribeau at 12:30 pm this afternoon. Today’s Hilltop reports that more protests are planned if Ribeau does not adequately address the students’ demands by tomorrow.