Several Howard University students banded together to protest a Friday morning convocation speech delivered by former FBI Director James Comey. Comey was invited by the institution to welcome the incoming class of 2021.
The students appear to belong to a student group named HU Resist. Chanting, “No justice! No peace!” in between the chorus of “We shall not be moved,” the protesters caused Comey to halt his speech while a presentation about Howard’s relation to the Civil Rights movement played on the livestream. Comey eventually stepped back in front of the podium to finish his address.
A twitter page and hashtag under HU Resist tweeted several posts explaining why the students choose to speak out during the ceremony.
Corey’s appearance at the historically Black institution was met with resistance because during his tenure as the head of the FBI, the bureau repeatedly found no evidence to press charges in several notable police shootings.
Not to mention that several reports during the bureau’s multiple investigation showed that multiple police departments were implicit in introducing polices which disproportionately affected Blacks and other minority communities. The bureau’s history of policies and surveillance tactics that directly impacted people of color, remains prominent in the narrative of law enforcement’s complicated relationship with communities of color.
“I just wish the students knew how to have a conversation. A conversation is when you speak and I listen, and then I speak and you listen,” Comey said during the chanting. Several members of the crowd, clapped in response.
Howard announced their decision to invite Comey in August and also detailed that Comey would operate as the endowed chair for public policy during the 2017-2018 school year. Comey in turn donated his $100,000 salary to students who came from foster care homes.