Protesters Disrupt Comey Speech At Howard University

440px-Comey-FBI-Portraitdownload-1I have been critical of the actions taken by former FBI director James Comey in leaking FBI information after he was fired by President Donald Trump. However, his appointment by Howard University as an endowed chair of public policy represented a good opportunity for both Howard and Comey. However, his first address to the university as part of the 2017-18 convocation was a disaster for both Howard and Comey as protesters shouted profanities and disrupted the event. It was the latest example of protesters shutting down free speech on campus and the university appeared unwilling or unable to enforce basic civility rules by removing and suspending the students.

The students chanted “black power” while pumping their fists in the air at the historically black college. One student led the others in chanting “I love the color of my skin” and singing “We Shall Not Be Moved.”

In the meantime, other students called on the protesters to let them hear Comey speak. Those students came to Howard for an education and correctly wanted to hear his remarks as one of the highest-ranking former Justice officials in our government – and a key historical figure in the current controversy over the Russian investigation. It was a wonderful opportunity for any student but they were denied the opportunity because these protesters did not want them to hear Comey.

For his part, Comey remained calm and reasoned, saying that “I hope you’ll listen to what I have to say. I listened to you for five minutes.”

It didn’t help.

We have to decide as educators whether we are maintaining forums for free speech and learning or whether we will yield to the power of the mob. Currently, the “heckler’s veto” reigns at many schools that lack the commitment and confidence to enforce basic rules of civility and free speech. If students want to come to a university to silence speakers and prevent others from hearing opposing views, they should be expelled as opposed to our educational mission. Howard University is a wonderful school with a proud history. It should not surrender its educational identity to the loudest and most disruptive elements of its community.

 

 

 

 

250 thoughts on “Protesters Disrupt Comey Speech At Howard University

  1. This is going insane!

    We should demand that all these universities honor the Constitution. For starters, get rid of these demarcated “free-speech zones” and recognize that their entire campus is a free-speech zone.

    When speakers are given official invitations to speak on campus, their rights to speak in that forum should be respected to the fullest extent. If a group of yappers wants to protest against the speaker, let them apply for such an invitation, or move the protest away. Surely there are other areas on the campus to stage a civil protest.

    Every one of these protests is implicitly carrying some threat of potential violence. This needs curtailment, including the recognition that violence is not speech. Instead, we seem to see that the institutions themselves are aiming to be co-conspirators in the use of force to shut down uncomfortable (to some) speech.

    • Let’s find out. How about it, Squeeky?
      Do you think that the White NFL players should take a knee during the national anthem to protest the shooting death of Justine Damond?

  2. The NFL hasn’t always been so supportive of his players engaging in free speech on the field.

    • Last year the NFL barred the Dallas Cowboys from wearing a decal on their helmet honoring the five police officers killed in a domestic terror attack.

    • The NFL also banned the Tennessee Titan’s linebacker, Avery Williamson, from honoring 9/11 victims by wearing cleats that read “9-11/01” and “Never Forget” on the 15th anniversary of the terror attack.

    • The NFL fined Robert Griffin III $10,000 for wearing a t-shirt during a press conference that said “Operation Patience.” (The shirt was created by Reebok and players are required to only wear clothing sold by Nike.)

    • RGIII also ran into trouble with the league for wearing a shirt that said “Know Jesus, Know Peace.”

    • The NFL has banned players from wearing Beats headphones on the field (doing so violated the league’s deal with Bose).

    • The Steelers’ William Gay was fined for wearing purple cleats, which he did to raise awareness for domestic violence (an issue the NFL claims the league takes seriously)

  3. I don’t recall MSM carrying this story, wonder why. To all those getting on your knees, remember it’s gonna stick with you for the rest of your life no matter how hard you explain why.

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