gentrifying george howard university washington dc

Angie Ange In The Morning / Twitter

#GentrifyingGeorge thinks 152-year-old HBCU should ‘just move’

Sean Grubbs-Robishaw apparently thinks the 152-year-old institution should move.


Samira Sadeque


Posted on Apr 21, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 2:20 pm CDT

A white man has been caught on video saying the Black community should “move the campus” of Howard University if they have issues with the effects of gentrification in Washington, D.C.

On Friday, a woman tweeted out a clip from a Fox5 story which showed Sean Grubbs-Robishaw saying, “They’re in a part of D.C., so they have to work within D.C., if they don’t want to be within D.C. then they move the campus,” he said, adding that it shouldn’t be a matter of whose community it is. “It’s our community and that’s how it should be.”

According to the Fox5 video clip, Grubbs-Robishaw is a resident of Bloomingdale, a neighborhood close to the Howard University campus. Howard is a historically Black university.

There have been reports of people expressing concern and disappointment that the University’s quadrangle, known as The Yard, is being treated like a public park, with neighborhood residents walking their dogs on the private property. 

“You know this is a university. You know this is a historically Black university. And you feel so entitled that you’re just going to walk your dog there?” Briana Littlejohn, a student at Howard, told DCist. “I find it very disrespectful.”

Tension has been brewing for some time between wealthy, white residents who are moving into certain pockets of D.C. and the Black communities that have called those areas home. But for a white man to say that Howard, which has been at its current location for over 150 years, should move reeks of privilege and entitlement, which Twitter pointed out. Grubbs-Robishaw has since been assigned the nickname #GentrifyingGeorge:  

And some drew comparisons about what would (or wouldn’t) be allowed in other campuses:

Howard University president Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick released a statement about the issue and said while Howard recognizes service animals may be necessary for some, pet owners should respect the space.

“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,” he said.

“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.”  

H/T The Root


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*First Published: Apr 21, 2019, 5:27 pm CDT