Would You Like a Protest With Your Tinsel?

At the recent tree-lighting ceremony (36 days before Christmas) held on the main campus (“the Yard”) of Howard University, students from various majors and concentrations gathered to protest recent recommendation’s made by the university’s president which proposed to cut 74 academic programs, including philosophy (as highlighted by Inside Higher Ed), dance, and African studies – all of which have rich legacies at the university. Proposed programs facing elimination would be created to create concentrations that some believe will “water-down” future majors.

Some tree-lighting ceremony attendees did more than sip hot coco: They signed a protest to demonstrate their opposition to the proposed programs cuts.

But affiliates and members of HUSA, who purportedly represents the “student voice”, including current HUSA President Brandon Harris tried to convice the student protestors to leave. (Example No. 1)

Example No. 2

Example No. 3 Current HUSA Vice President Will Roberts and one of the main protest organizers, Andrew Wattley.

Yet the protestors ignored the “cease and dease” attempts of student leaders.

Petition-signers were greeted witha smile as protestors entreated them to show their opposition to President Sidney Ribeau’s recommendation, which he plans to submit to the board of trustees on December 1 (as of now).  But deadlines don’t really seem to be “dead” – they’ve been pushed up, back, and all around to the point it might be anyone’s guess what will happen next, especially for the departments placed on the president’s “cut list.”

While the petition circulated, there were several performances before the 14 feet tall Christmas tree was lit, including Group Without a Name or GWN who performed throughout the entire ceremony and kept the crowd tapping their feet and nodding their heads. (Picture was taken after the ceremony drew to a close if the tree in the background that’s all aglow caught anybody off-guard).

Yonah, a singer from the South of France, entertained (in a minstrel sense) the audience with a “rousing” rendition of “Amazing Grace” with enough over-dramatic vocal theatrics (that fell flat) to bring out the Apollo’s Sandman to drag him off the stage and spare him further embarrassment.

And the real star of Yonah’s performance, however, was the improvised “stage lighting” (i.e. floor lamps) courtesy of the Target in front of the Columbia Heights Metro station.

And the evening’s main attraction, a $4,150 Christmas tree, was a towering behemoth to behold.

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