White student alleges racial discrimination in $2M suit against Howard University

An expelled white student is suing Howard University, a historically Black school, for $2 million over what he claims is racial discrimination, citing “pain, suffering, emotional anguish and damage to his reputation.”

Michael Newman was expelled in September 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.”

Newman apparently became the target of criticism by other students when he made remarks about where he parts “from the Black community,” saying in a group chat with other students that Black people “believe government solves problems, I only see it causing problems,” according to the suit. Newman made further comments in class settings that other students took exception to, and the suit alleges that some “conspired to seek his expulsion.”

The suit also claims that an administrator at the university told Newman that he had become “the most hated student” he had seen in his time at the school.

The acrimony reached a peak when a classmate found Newman’s private Twitter account and reposted a tweet from him that included a photo of a slave with scars on his back, with the caption: “But we don’t know what he did before the picture was taken!”

Newman argued that the comment was made ironically, “in response to Americans who attempt to explain away videos of police brutality by claiming that the victim must have committed wrongdoing before the video started that justified the violence.”

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. He lost an appeal at the school that challenged the expulsion.

Frank Tramble, vice president and chief communications officer for Howard University, told The New York Post that the school 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.”

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