DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bethune-Cookman University students released a list of 12 “non-negotiable” demands Thursday amid continuing protests over conditions at the school.
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At the top of the list, students repeated they wanted an overhaul of the Board of Trustees, then added conditions not previously spoken earlier in the week: they wanted both student and alumni representation on the Board.
“We feel that the Board of Trustees led by Judge Belvin Perry Jr. have not been completely transparent with us,” an open letter stated.
Read: Bethune-Cookman students fill street in protest, call for reinstatement of Ed Reed
Complaints about the financial management and maintenance of the school have been ongoing for years, but burst into the open last week when Ed Reed, the school’s expected new head football coach, took to Instagram to complain about the school’s facilities in what has been described as a profanity-laced rant.
The school backed away from hiring Reed, setting off the student body that felt Reed was sticking up for them.
“People want them out,” student body vice president Janiya Jones said of the school’s Board of Trustees as she displayed pictures of extensive mold in the dorms. “They want them to do better.”
In addition to more representation, the list of demands also mentioned a better maintenance request system, better safety measures throughout campus and a review of parties the students feel are responsible for core services, like supplying the dining hall with enough food.
Read: New BCU head football coach Ed Reed apologizes after he trashes school on social media
Reached by phone Friday, Perry said students had board representation and three alumni held seats, though not as representatives of the school’s alumni association. He referred other on-the-record questions to the school’s communications division.
A emailed request for comment was not immediately returned.
Bethune-Cookman students released a list of "non negotiable" demands to school administrators, including an overhaul of the Board of Trustees and more representation.— Nick Papantonis WFTV (@NPapantonisWFTV) January 27, 2023
Board Chairman Belvin Perry told me students already have representation and three alumni hold seats. @WFTV pic.twitter.com/bi4X9YgwIC
After the initial round of protests, the school’s Interim President, Lawrence M. Drake, said he was proud of the way students were making their voices heard.
Read: Biopic on the life of B-CU founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in development
He continued to reject any possibility of bringing Reed onto the team, but said the school began a complete assessment of its facilities and will make repairs starting in the fall as necessity and resources dictate.
The school spent years accumulating debts through financial mismanagement, posting a more than $17 million loss on its FY 2017 IRS forms. Officials have since been able to stabilize the school’s budgets through cost cutting.
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