WASHINGTON – The Howard University president officially does not want you to bring your dog to private portions of campus.
Earlier this month, an anonymous blog post on PoPville claimed they were walking their dog on the university campus when they were told to leave since dogs weren’t welcome.
"This a closed campus, I’m going to call the cops on you ... The students continued to scream at us and follow us for around five minutes,” the blog post author said.
The post had the comments blowing up, started a city-wide debate, and even sparked a hashtag #GentrifyingGeorge on Twitter.
According to DCist, Howard University students are noticing more and more people with their dogs on The Yard. Some students are saying its both a side-effect of the ongoing gentrification in DC and disrespectful to the school.
One Bloomingdale resident - now infamously known as #GentrifyingGeorge - apparently suggested moving the campus in an interview with FOX 5. People across the U.S. - and some national media outlets - picked up the story.
When WUSA9 originally covered the story, a Howard spokesperson said they did not have a policy prohibiting dogs on campus.
However, the Howard University President, Wayne A. I. Frederick, put out a statement Friday.
In it, he specifically didn’t ban dogs from The Yard, but did say he appreciated pet owners not bringing their dogs.
“We appreciate pet owners respecting our campus by not bringing pets onto the private areas,” he wrote.
Frederick said they are proud of the long-standing relationship with the community for more than 150 years.
“We can relate to the Nation wanting to visit and witness the Howard mystique. The institution has a tradition of opening our doors for everyone to observe the best that Howard University has to offer,” he wrote. “We recognize that service animals are a necessary aspect of modern-day life and we will accommodate them as needed.”
Below is the full letter:
Dear Howard University Family,
Our campus is a beautiful, sacred space that provides comfort and, in many ways, sanctuary in a place that feels more like a second home than merely an academic institution. The Upper Quadrangle, commonly referred to as the Yard, is a treasured site of many auspicious occasions. Our Commencement Ceremony is the ultimate long walk that symbolizes a sacred tradition, symbolic of every student’s matriculation. The Howard University community wants to see this area remain pristine and symbolic of all that Howard University represents.
We are aware of the concerns regarding dog walking across campus. Howard is a private institution nestled in the heart of an urban city and we’ve shared a long-standing positive relationship with our evolving community for more than 150 years, which we look forward to continuing in the future.
We can relate to the Nation wanting to visit and witness the Howard mystique. The institution has a tradition of opening our doors for everyone to observe the best that Howard University has to offer. We’ve shared many symposiums, workshops and concerts with our neighbors. Our annual parade proudly wraps through the surrounding streets and our students walk safely through the neighborhood.
At the beginning of my presidency we held regular meetings that included students, faculty and members of the Advisory Neighborhood Committees to cultivate a town and gown relationship. I recently reached out to our local ANC and Councilwoman to engage in a dialogue. We recognize that service animals are a necessary aspect of modern-day life and we will accommodate them as needed. We appreciate pet owners respecting our campus by not bringing pets onto the private areas.
Thank you for your emails and expressive thoughts surrounding this matter. I will always work in the best interest of the Howard University community.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA