Local Conflict

The Howard University ‘s campus rests atop a hill in Northwest D.C. and for many it sits uncomfortably between the collegiate population and the local residents. The issue is whether students are entitled to look down upon those who do not attend Howard University.

“Locals, in my opinion, assume that we feel superior [to them],” sophomore Sarah Brown said. “I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but I have never felt like I was better than any of the locals.”

“Local” is a term used to describe residents of the metropolitan area.

Shawn Gaines, a fourth-year finance student, is commonly mistaken for a local on Howard’s campus. He tends to socialize more with his friends, than others from the Howard community.

“There’s a conflict between the two because you can get caught up with your personal life and school work,” Gaines said.

“Friends and family are still an immediate factor in my life and I know I go out my way for them and the situations I’m involved in rather than focusing on school all the time.”

Berkeley Wright, a LeDroit Park resident said, “I feel hostility for Howard students just for calling me a local all of the time.”

This conflict does not only occur at the Mecca. Philadelphia native Courtney Christian attends college in the metropolitan Atlanta area and does not have these same problems.

“As a Spelman student, I don’t feel so much hostility from the people that live in the neighborhood, but more or less that there are stereotypes about the students the attend Morehouse and Spelman,” said Christian.

Christian, a sophomore, has only encountered a problem within the last two weeks.

“The worst conflict that I can recall is a fight at a beer bash that was between locals and the Ques of Morehouse, and that was started by some high school boys at the bash,” she said.

Christian added jokingly, “Usually beer bash just ends when the food and drinks run out.”

Wright is a former Morehouse student and spent a great deal of time in the same neighborhood where Christian now resides.”I never experienced anything but love from ‘ATLiens’,” Wright said.

So what are students at Howard to do?

In an impromptu panel discussion in Locke Hall on March 25th involving a supervisor of Howard’s campus police, the audience was told that once they are out of the immediate parameters of the main campus, they are on their own.

However, if conflict arises on campus, new emergency posts have been installed.

“How do you mend a misunderstanding between an entire community and thousands of students?” Brown asked. “The best thing I could say is that we need to just treat each other with respect, if for no other reason that we are all human beings.”