Howard University issued a call to action over a city council proposal that threatens both the future of its medical school program and its ability to serve the health care needs of folks in its community.
At issue is the East End Health Equity Act, a bill that the D.C. City Council planned to take up for a vote on Tuesday.
Passage would clear the way for a new community hospital in Southeast Washington operated by George Washington University Hospital and exclude the participation of Howard University College of Medicine.
“As a result, the more than 1,000 health professional students currently being trained at Howard will be in severe jeopardy,” a statement on the university’s website said. “We remind everyone that more than 90 percent of these students are from underrepresented minority groups whose predecessors have long demonstrated a willingness to serve citizens of the District and surrounding communities, as well as our nation.”
As the proposal stands, it could also steer patients away from Howard University Hospital, which has primarily served residents of Wards 7 and 8 throughout its 150-year history. Both wards were made up of predominantly African-American residents, according to city government data covering 2005 to 2009. Ward 7 was 96 percent Black, and Ward 8 was 94 percent Blck, according to the most recent statistics available.
Ward 7 D.C. Council member Vincent Gray introduced the East End Health Equity Act in September to accelerate the development of the hospital, which was expected to open in 2023, according to the DC Line. He argued that five years from now is too long of a wait considering his constituents’ urgent need for quality health care.
“It’s time for the city’s leadership to show the same urgency for the new hospital as was done for Major League Baseball,” Gray said at a legislative hearing on the proposal in October.
If Gray has his way, the passage of the legislation would expedite completion by Dec. 31, 2021.
Concerns were raised by some legislators about the negative impact the hospital would have on Howard’s future. But it’s unclear which way the council was leaning.
CHAPEL HILL, NC – AUGUST 22: Demonstrators rally for the removal of a Confederate statue coined Silent Sam on the campus of the University of Chapel Hill on August 22, 2017 in Chapel Hill North Carolina. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images) photography,horizontal,usa,topix,bestof,politics,campus,human interest,removing,conflict,political rally,protest,protestor,statue,bestpix,politics and government,chapel hill,university of north carolina at chapel hill,north carolina – us state,confederate states army
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UNC Pledges Millions To Give 'Silent Sam' Confederate Monument A New Home On Campus
<div class="ione-gallery__slideshow" data-title="UNC Pledges Millions To Give 'Silent Sam' Confederate Monument A New Home On Campus" data-description="As Confederate monuments sprinkled across the country were steadily being removed or repurposed, one of the nation’s most respected public colleges has decided to do the opposite. Silent Sam, the Confederate statue on the University of North Carolina’s main campus that was toppled by protesters in August, will find a new, permanent home elsewhere on the school’s sprawling grounds in Chapel Hill, university officials recommended on Monday.
BREAKING: Chancellor Folt and Board of Trustees recommend that Silent Sam be placed in a new, freestanding building.
— The Daily Tar Heel (@dailytarheel) December 3, 2018
The entire undertaking, including the construction of a new building that would house Silent Sam, was reportedly expected to cost $5.3 million, a figure that didn’t include an estimated $800,000 annually for maintenance.
The move seemingly ignored the chorus of pleas by UNC’s community of Black faculty and students alike, which had been calling for the monument to never be erected again on campus.
"We have witnessed a monument that represents white supremacy in both the past and present be venerated and protected at the same time that we have been asked to serve as examples of diversity and inclusion. That is a demoralizing burden," nearly 60 Black UNC faculty members wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published in September that asked university officials to consider not reinstalling Silent Sam. "A monument to white supremacy, steeped in a history of violence against Black people, and that continues to attract white supremacists, creates a racially hostile work environment and diminishes the University’s reputation worldwide."
UNC Student Body President Savannah Putnam said Silent Sam “does not belong” on campus and does not serve students, according to the News Observer.
@ChancellorFolt wants to spend $5.3mill, $800K yearly upkeep on this campus arcade to house #SilentSam. 1 classroom, small exhibition space, & a big patio to tell "@UNC's history." Sam will dominate it. Obscene, waste of taxpayer $, & the design is a monument to white supremacy pic.twitter.com/zAqFUQJN9o
— And no I do not yield. Not one second to you. (@GilmoreGlenda) December 3, 2018
UNC’s recommendation stood in stark contrast to rival Duke University, located just eight miles away, which announced on Saturday that it would change the name of a campus building named for "a white supremacist who fought for the confederacy and gave a fiery speech in 1913 at the Silent Sam statue dedication," according to local news outlet WRAL.
"Complicating the picture is a 2015 state law that generally bars the removal of historic objects of remembrance on state property," the News Observer wrote Monday. "The law limits the options for relocating a monument, though it does allow removal to preserve an object or to make way for construction. The law does not address a case of a monument having been forcibly moved, as in the case of the Aug. 20 protest that brought down Silent Sam."
Duke in 2017 also removed its own confederate monument from its campus in Durham, but because it is a private university the aforementioned state law didn’t apply.
Several groups on campus have already released statements on their support and opposition to the University’s decision to keep #SilentSam with the potential of protests this evening, based on posts on social media @WFMY pic.twitter.com/bSJBYvmnn8
— Laura Brache (@laura_brache) December 3, 2018
"Erected in 1913, in remembrance of ‘the sons of the University who died for their beloved Southland 1861-1865,’ the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam stands on McCorkle place, the University’s upper quad, facing Franklin Street," according to an online description credited to UNC grad school.
At the time Silent Sam was brought down, UNC Chancellor Carol Folt seemed to be wistful that the racist statue was no longer on campus.
“The monument has been divisive for years, and its presence has been a source of frustration for many people not only on our campus but throughout the community. However,” Folt lamented, “last night’s actions were unlawful and dangerous, and we are very fortunate that no one was injured. The police are investigating the vandalism and assessing the full extent of the damage.”
The result of Monday’s decisive meeting was people sounding off across social media with disappointment at UNC’s apparent indifference to how Silent Sam’s presence might make it students and faculty feel. Below is a sampling of sentiments shared on social media.” data-prev-gallery data-next-gallery=”https://newsone.com/playlist/mlk-pictures-martin-luther-king-jr-photos-assassination-50-years/” data-count=”10″ data-gallery-url data-gallery-id=”211732″ data-categories=”Nation,National,Newsletter” data-tags=”Confederate Monument Removal,Confederate monuments,Silent Sam,UNC Chapel Hill” data-author=”ionenewsone”>
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The Future Of Howard University’s Hospital And Medical School Are At Risk. Here’s Why was originally published on newsone.com