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Howard University School of Law - Washington, DC

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

A white student who attended Howard University School of Law has sued the university for discrimination after being expelled. However, reports are questioning the student’s motives as the details from the suit are being released. 

Michael Newman attended Howard University School of Law for nearly two years until he was expelled in September of last year and he is seeking $2 million in damages alleging “pain, suffering, emotional anguish and damage to his reputation.”

Fox6 reports that Newman enrolled in the fall of 2020–amid the coronavirus pandemic when classes were virtual and that as he and other students communicated via online forums and GroupMe chats, Newman frequently posted inflammatory photos and ideas. 

The report says that after a symposium featuring an African American speaker ahead of the 2020 election, Newman posted the forum page asking if further discussion could be had on “whether: (1) Black voters didn’t question turning to government for solutions, and (2) reliably voting for the same party every election disincentivized both parties from responding to the needs of the black communities.”

Newman also said that his goal in attending the school was to “learn, not just law, but to learn the thoughts and experiences of people of color,” and referred to his time there as a social experiment. 

He said that he frequently felt ostracized because fellow students referred to him by names such as “white panther” and “mayo king.” Black students at the institution also frequently complained about Newman claiming that his actions caused them “severe stress” and “distracted them from their studies.” 

The report adds that Newman sent out a four-page letter trying to explain his views, but it was received as a “manifesto.” 

The School of Law Dean Danielle Holley noted that a digital town hall was held with 300 participants to discuss Newman’s actions. And Holley characterized his actions as “disturbing in every sense of the word.” She accused the man of “continual harassment of member [sic] of the Howard Law community, and disturbance of the learning environment at the School of Law.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court and Frank Tramble, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Howard University, said that while he could not comment “substantively” due to pending litigation, the university “is prepared to vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit as the claims provide a one-sided and self-serving narrative of the events leading to the end of the student’s enrollment at the University.”


Photo: The Washington Post / Getty