White Student Sues ‘Black College’ for $2 Million Over Racial Discrimination

Awhite student at Howard University’s law school is suing the institution for racial discrimination, alleging the school created a “hostile education environment.”

Michael Newman, the plaintiff, attended Howard University School of Law starting in the fall semester of 2020 and remained there for just two years until he was expelled in September 2022. He is seeking $2 million in monetary damages for “pain, suffering, emotional anguish and damage to his reputation.”

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.” 

Newman suffered “depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts” as a result of “public ostracism, vilification and humiliation,” the lawsuit claims. At one point, Global Head of Diversity Recruiting Reggie McGahee allegedly told Newman he had become the most hated student McGahee had seen during his tenure at the university, according to the suit.

When Newman raised concerns over his treatment to school administrators, the law school’s dean allegedly denied that Caucasian students at Howard Law, and Newman in particular, faced racial discrimination to any degree. 

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.” He alleged that students responded with references to his race, gender, sexual preference, age and personal appearance. 

The trouble started when the university shifted to remote learning at the start of the pandemic, meaning students communicated through purely online forums and through GroupMe chats, Newman claimed in court papers.

After a symposium featuring an African-American speaker in the run-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 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.”

Some students responded negatively to Newman’s post and reached out to school administrators, prompting Newman’s removal from one of his group chats for the class, according to the allegations.

Newman also described feeling “utterly disenfranchised” at the school and compared himself to a black student at a primarily white university. The student response was again largely negative, with some calling his comment “offensive,” he claimed.

Newman repeatedly apologized for offending anyone, stressing he was seeking to “learn, not just law, but to learn the thoughts and experiences of people of color,” the lawsuit stated.

But Newman allegedly faced more overt hostility, with many students starting to refer to him as “mayo king” (a perceived reference to his race) and “white panther,” and students claimed that “controversies” that they blamed on Newman had caused “severe stress” and “distracted them from their studies. 

Newman tried to remedy the situation by sending out a four-part letter explaining his views, but the effort was labeled a “manifesto,” with one student accusing him of “manipulating [classmates’] emotions … as a social experiment,” the lawsuit said. The letters allegedly resulted in Newman’s removal from a second class-wide group chat.

School of Law Dean Danielle Holley later secretly recorded a Zoom meeting she called with Newman and McGahee, during which she suggested Newman transfer to another school, accusing him of racially harassing classmates, according to the allegations.

During a digital town hall attended by 300 participants to discuss controversies surrounding Newman, Holley allegedly characterized Newman’s letters as “disturbing in every sense of the word,” according to the suit. She allegedly blocked him from using several functions to try and speak up in his defense, even disabling the chat function and turning off his camera. 

Holley and Newman wound up filing simultaneous complaints, with Holley accusing Newman of “continual harassment of member [sic] of the Howard Law community, and disturbance of the learning environment at the School of Law.” At the same time, Newman claimed Holley had perpetuated “threats,” “discrimination” and a “hostile academic environment.” 

In a panel reviewing Holley’s complaint, the school determined that Newman was “responsible” and ruled that he should be expelled. To his knowledge, Newman’s complaint was never adjudicated, the suit claimed.

Newman appealed the ruling, but a second review panel allegedly reached the same conclusion despite the revelation that Holley had supplied the first panel with evidence that Newman never saw, which he argued amounted to “secret evidence.”

The attorneys representing Newman filed the suit in federal court. 

According to the lawsuit, Newman’s lawyers will try to show that the school broke its contract with him as a scholarship student. This is because a series of incidents and accusations led to multiple review panels and hearings, which led to his expulsion.

4 thoughts on “White Student Sues ‘Black College’ for $2 Million Over Racial Discrimination

Add yours

  1. I’m sorry ahead of time if my remarks offend or hurt anyone’s feelings, but these views and opinions are especially ,my own based on 76 years experience and observation, but as a White Male. I saw the ugliness of Racism and heard the hate filled general comments that both white males and females made in every day life in the generally Democratic South, while in the mostly Republican North around the northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin areas there did not seem to be the same comments made. I joined the military and I noticed in Basic Training at Fort Polk in the mid 1960’s, the two racial groups divided themselves up with out a word. There was not conflict. The blacks felt better and more secure around other members who were black, the whites did the same thing. Blacks were upstairs and whites were down stairs in the old 2 story wooden barracks. It was no big deal. Then in the mid 60’s it seemed like radicalization started. I am not talking about people like MLK, who expressed a desire for a peaceful integration of all races, not judged by the color of their skin but by the quality of their character. Then during the mid 1960’s people like Sharp and Jackson, the black Panthers, arrived on the scene and made demands, protested, instilled radicalism, and used violence to gain equality. In my mind all that did was drive a wedge, between the two groups, even deeper. Any trust that had been built up disappeared and Blacks no longer trusted whites and whites no longer trusted blacks. President Johnson, a known racist, when he signed the Civil Rights Legislation in I think it was 1965 was quoted saying, “That will keep the N….’s voting Democratic for the next 200 years”. A totally racist remark from the President of the United States of America based entirely on political grounds. In that legislation it said basically that if you cannot take care of yourself, your government will step in and take care of you. This took all the drive out of working hard to get ahead, as you could just sit and do nothing and still get paid. Not good. We also saw the destruction of the “family model” with welfare rewarding those single parents who found themselves with a baby and no way to support it. This made baby factories out of some women, and created some Welfare Queens who lived lavishly and drive the best vehicles. Some even cheated and rented some kids to take to the welfare offices to claim as their children! On the opposite side of the coin, whites felt abridged, offended that they worked hard only to see their taxes rise to help support this racist appearing system. Our military NCO’s were predominately black because they not only did a great job there but it was a good career. Some took apparent advantage of it against other races but appeared to be protected by upper ranks to avoid racially based accusation problems. Movies drew another crowd where the perception of fast cars, bling, girl friends, lavish life styles are obtainable with little work other than setting up gangs which committed crime and sold drugs. Our national morals were in sharp decay, and have been for a long time. Strictly in my opinion racism is still being stroked by both sides due to mistrust. When people can finally learn to trust one another and racists who make money off of it are no longer around, this will stop. Put pride and integrity into everyone’s mine and work together and we will all win. We all bleed red blood, we all breath the same air, drink the same water and have the desire for our children to grow up in a better world. Who is going to assure it happens? WE need to assure it happens by not stroking raism at the very earliest hint of something we perceive or think is a slight. Stop institutions form making selections based on Race but treat us all the same, equal and fairly.

  2. If it works for black students suing universities claiming racial discrimination, it should work for whites as well.

  3. I guess we met the Peter Griffin of the real world.
    Black Universities were and are a place where Blacks felt comfortable to develop and progress without the derision and judgement of a very racist white society.
    Whites, been the dominant race in the USA (so far) does not need those safe spaces since apparently they still believe everything is about them.
    As a white person that have lived in similarly racially mixed countries as the USA and when I came over I was appalled by the way blacks were (and are) treated in this country.

    White nationalists must remember that most blacks did not migrated to the USA voluntarily and to avoid creating new issues in an already deeply divided country and society.

    and NO Tammy, it is not the same. Your ancestors were not discriminated for well over a century even after becoming free from freaking slavery.

    And NO Dave, opportunities are NOT the same. They never were and still not. Your ancestors were able to get credit to buy homes, property and businesses. Free land was offered out west , but not to blacks and even when they were able to build enclaves of prosperity like in Tulsa and Rosewood then came the racists and burn them and kill them with no retribution.

    It is sad that true history is not taught …as not to make white children “uncomfortable”

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: