A video circulated on TikTok and other platforms depicting content creators breaking into Howard University's Benjamin E. Mays Building, according to media reports. The footage showed them exploring the building, including spraying a dry ice fire extinguisher on a statue. Howard University swiftly condemned the trespassing, emphasizing that the assumption of the building being abandoned was incorrect.
Reverend Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert, the Dean of the School of Divinity, issued a statement, highlighting the University's serious stance on the incident. The Howard University Department of Public Safety is actively investigating the matter. The building, once home to the School of Divinity, was relocated in 2015, and ongoing redevelopment plans for the east campus were in progress. Sensitive documents had been previously removed.
User takes to Instagram to voice concern
Despite efforts to preserve historically relevant materials, the trespassing incident raised concerns. The University intends to increase patrols, reassess the building's contents, and enhance security. Reverend Dr. Gilbert underscored the violation of sacred campus boundaries and the need for safeguarding HBCU campuses. In response to backlash, the video creator, @urbexjetz, removed the video and addressed concerns on Instagram.
The Instagram user said that the videos they shared were recorded a while ago, and since then, the condition of the location has drastically worsened due to vandals and robbers. Concerns about a fire extinguisher incident should shift focus to the current state—photos reveal a burnt car at the entrance, toppled bookshelves, graffiti-covered walls, and broken windows. They hope security footage can identify vandals, and urgent measures are taken to prevent further damage.