Howard University
Howard University Credit: Darrow Montgomery

It started with a letter, and then it all came pouring out. Trustee Renee Higginbotham-Brooks’ April missive to the Howard University board, warning that the school was “in genuine trouble” and “will not be here in three years if we don’t make some crucial decisions now,” was followed in short order by a similarly alarming letter from 13 Howard deans, the resignation of the university president, and the termination of its chief financial officer. Not to mention multiple lawsuits alleging discrimination and retaliation, the elimination of around 75 staff positions, declining enrollment, a mightily struggling campus hospital, and the collapse of Howard’s big planned mixed-use development (and subsequent lawsuit from the would-be developer). And just to ice the cake, Howard’s annual Yardfest concert turned dangerous as seven people were trampled. No one’s more relieved than Howard’s leaders—or what’s left of them—to close the book on 2013.