Update 9/19, 6:00 p.m.: University spokeswoman Dr. Kerry-Ann Hamilton writes in an email:

Over the last three months, we have scaled up efforts including the fumigation of the entire Howard Plaza Towers Complex. We have seen significant improvements; however, the Office of Residence Life and Physical Facilities Management will continue to work with the residents of the West Towers to fully resolve the problem.


A roach on the wall! A roach in an underwear drawer! A roach on the desk! Those are just three of the places cockroaches are making themselves at home in Howard University’s Howard Plaza Towers dorm, according to pictures provided by lawyer Daniel Hornal.

Hornal—-last in the news crusading against misbehaving D.C. cabbies—-is now facing off with pests in the Howard dorm. In a lawsuit filed yesterday in D.C. Superior Court, Hornal is representing 19 Howard students who claim to have been affected by rats, roaches, and mold. They’re suing for back rent from the university and an independent investigation of the problem.

“This lady moved into her dorm and she was seeing just massive numbers of cockroaches everywhere, especially in her kitchen,” Hornal says of one student, who moved into the towers in August. Howard tried to exterminate the roaches, according to Hornal, but whatever they tried didn’t work.

“Cockroaches would be literally raining down onto her counter,” he says.

Some of the students in the lawsuit claim to have seen as many as 50 roaches over 10 days. While Howard has tried to exterminate the pests, the university hasn’t managed a dorm-wide fumigation yet, according to Hornal. “They have an exterminator come through once or twice a week to treat people’s rooms, but it’s not working,” he says.

Photo courtesy Daniel Hornal