A former Howard University School of Law student who is white has filed a $2 million lawsuit against the historically black institution, claiming it endured racial discrimination and created a “hostile educational environment.”
Michael Newman, attended the School of Law beginning in the fall semester of 2020 and remained there for two years until suspended in September 2022.
Newman’s lawsuit alleges that he suffered “pain, suffering, emotional anguish and damage to his reputation” as a result of racial discrimination by school administrators and other students.
His claims are based on a series of alleged events that took place during his time in law school, including his being publicly ostracized, defamed and humiliated.
The university says in a response that it is ‘prepared to vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit’.
Howard University President Wayne AI Frederick is pictured. The institution is being sued by a former white student at the university. The university says it is ‘prepared to vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit’.
A white student has filed a lawsuit against Howard University’s law school alleging racial discrimination and creating a hostile educational environment. Howard University, pictured
In the lawsuit, Newman expressed concern about his treatment to school administrators, but they denied that white Howard Law students, and Newman in particular, faced any degree of racial discrimination.
Newman describes suffering from “depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts” as a result of the treatment he received, the lawsuit alleges.
The problems for Newman reportedly started when the university moved to remote learning at the start of the pandemic, which meant students communicated through purely online forums and GroupMe chats.
Following a symposium with an African-American speaker leading up to the 2020 election, Newman said he posted on a professor’s forum page asking if further dialogue could be had on “whether: (1) Black voters had no hesitation in going to government for solutions, and (2) voting reliably for the same party in every election discouraged both parties from responding to the needs of the black communities.”
Newman received negative responses from some students, according to the allegations, and was removed from one of his group chats for the class.
Newman also described feeling “completely disenfranchised” at school and compared himself to a black student at a predominantly white university.
Again, the student’s response was largely negative, with some calling his comment “offensive.”
Newman repeatedly apologized for offending anyone, emphasizing that he “wanted to learn not only the law, but also the thoughts and experiences of people of color,” according to the lawsuit.
After discussions about Newman’s alleged racial insensitivity, the students discovered a tweet from his private Twitter account that depicted a slave baring his badly scarred back with the caption, “But we don’t know what he was doing before the photo was taken.” ‘, according to the lawsuit.
In another controversial tweet, Newman appeared to claim he was mocking commenters who “try to explain away videos of police brutality by claiming that the victim must have committed misconduct before the video started.”
But Newman reportedly continued to face open hostility, with many students beginning to refer to him as “mayo king” (a supposed reference to his race) and “white panther,” with students claiming that “controversies” they blamed Newman for blamed, had caused “severe stress” and “distracted them from their studies.”
Newman then attempted to remedy the situation by sending a four-part letter to explain his views, but the attempt was labeled a “manifesto”, with a student accusing him of “manipulating (classmates’) emotions…as a social experiment,” the lawsuit argues.
The letters allegedly led to Newman’s removal from a second-grade group chat.
Danielle Holley, dean of the law school, later secretly taped a Zoom meeting she hosted with Newman and Reggie McGahee, the head of the global Diversity Recruiting Department, in which she suggested Newman transfer to another school , accusing him of racially harassing classmates, according to the allegations.
Gahee allegedly told Newman how he had become “the most hated” student McGahee had seen during his tenure at the university.
During a digital town hall attended by 300 attendees to discuss controversies surrounding Newman, Holley allegedly characterized Newman’s letters as “disturbing in every sense of the word,” according to the indictment.
She allegedly blocked him from using various features to try and defend his defense, even turning off the chat feature and turning off his camera.
Holley and Newman eventually filed concurrent complaints, with Holley accusing Newman of “ongoing harassment of a member (sic) of the Howard Law community and disruption of the learning environment at the School of Law.”
At the same time, Newman claimed that Holley had perpetuated “threats,” “discrimination,” and a “hostile academic environment.”
Frank Tramble, Howard University’s vice president and chief communications officer, said that while he was unable to comment substantively due to pending litigation, the university “is prepared to vigorously defend itself in this lawsuit as the claims present a one-sided and self-serving bias.” – serving story of the events that led to the end of the student’s enrollment at the university.’
Newman’s lawyers will now try to prove that the school broke its contract with him and that the series of incidents and subsequent review panels ultimately led to his expulsion.