An expelled white student is suing a historically Black college for $2 million, alleging he was racially discriminated against.
The student has sued Howard University for racial discrimination, citing “pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and damage to his reputation.”
Michael Newman was expelled in September 2022 after attending Howard law school starting in 2020.
Newman alleges in his suit that the school created a “hostile education environment,” and argues that he suffered “depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts” as a result of “public ostracism, vilification, and humiliation.”
Howard University is one of 107 historically Black colleges and universities in the U.S., serving some 11,000 students across its undergraduate, graduate, and professional student programs.
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.”
Following discussions of Newman’s purported racial insensitivity, students learned of a tweet from Newman’s private Twitter account that included a picture of a slave baring his badly scarred back with the caption, “But we don’t know what he did before the picture was taken,” according to the lawsuit.
Newman claimed the tweet was mocking commentators who “attempt to explain away videos of police brutality by claiming the victim must have committed wrongdoing before the video started.”
Following a number of other infractions with school administrators, including using a university Listserv to send what was seen as administrators and students alike as disturbing emails to the community, Newman was expelled.
Howard University has been in the spotlight a lot in recent years, especially in the aftermath of George Flloyd’s murder at the hands of white police officers, and the subsequent racial justice movement that transpired.
The Department of the Air Force has recently selected Howard University as the first Historically Black College or University to lead a University Affiliated Research Center.
The center will be focused on tactical autonomy technology for military systems and Howard University will receive $12 million per year for five years to fund research, faculty, and students.
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