DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After hundreds of Bethune-Cookman University students protested what they called poor living conditions, the university issued a letter Tuesday in response.
The students gathered Monday to protest after the school announced it stopped contract negotiations with former NFL star and pro Football Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed, who took to social media talking about the campus’ poor conditions when he visited.
He accused Bethune-Cookman of having a dirty campus and failing to clean his office before he arrived. He threatened to leave then, saying he was having to “clear out trash” while not even being under contract.
Interim President Lawrence M. Drake II wrote in part, “While social media and media outlets have seized on not continuing negotiations with NFL Hall of Fame player Ed Reed, many of our students chose to use this moment to voice their concerns. This administration takes no issue with this. In the coming days, I will meet with student leaders to ensure that we address many of the students’ concerns and answer their questions as honestly as possible.”
The students said Reed’s videos sparked the idea for the protest but added they have been living in poor conditions on campus for years. They said Reed brought that to a bigger stage.
“We voice concerns. We send emails all of the time. No responses. So this is what it has come to,” said Janyia Jones, a university student.
Some shared pictures and videos with News 6 showing mold on dorm walls, ceilings and belongings.
“I pay thousands of dollars a month to be here and it’s not taken care of. The last couple months I was here, I literally was sick because of the mold. My shower makes my skin breakout,” a freshman said.
In the letter, the interim president said all facilities are being assessed and projects are being prioritized by needs and costs.
After the video Reed shared, contract negotiations did not go through for a head football coach position at the university. The former NFL player shared the following statement on Twitter last week regarding the failed negotiations.
The university’s letter said in part, “To close the chapter on Mr. Reed, he was a tremendous player. Still, as we continued to observe him, we felt that his behavior was not aligned with the traditions of our founder Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, and the university. We have over 50+ inquiries concerning our Head coaching position and are very excited about our candidate pool.”
Read the full letter below:
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