White law student allegedly labeled ‘mayo king’ files $2M lawsuit against historically black college

A former law student expelled from a historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) school has filed a $2 million suit against the institution claiming racial discrimination against him, a white male.

In September 2022, after attending Washington, D.C.’s Howard University since the fall of 2020, Michael Newman was expelled from the private university’s School of Law. Now, after allegedly experiencing “pain, suffering, emotional anguish and damage to his reputation” from fellow students and school administrators, he has filed a discrimination suit against the school.

According to court documents naming school officials including Dean of Howard Law Danielle Holley and university president Wayne Frederick, the former student asserted he was exposed to a “hostile education environment” and contended that he had been accused of committing “virtual blackface” while being labeled a “mayo king.”

Newman alleged that his problems began when he posted to the law school cohort’s GroupMe chat, “Where I part with the black community is where they believe government solves problems, I only see it causing problems.”

The October 2020 remark followed a symposium where “an African-American speaker claimed that if Biden and Harris won the White House they would usher in a ‘golden age of environmental justice.'”

Newman further wondered if “reliably voting for the same party every election disincentivized both parties from responding to the needs of black communities.”

“You are way outta pocket and I hope [the professor] drags you for filth, pull up your urban dictionary if u want but your groupme privileges are revoked,” one person reportedly wrote before the former student was said to have been removed from the chat.

Another incident of being singled out was presented from January 2021 where Newman said a July 2020 tweet he had posted on a private account was circulated to classmates, allegedly out of context. The post included the “well-known image of emancipated slave ‘Gordon’ baring his very badly scarred back,” with the caption “But we don’t know what he did before the picture was taken!”

“As you retweet this post to vilify me,” Newman responded to one student at the time, “be aware my point was ironic, 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…That you think I would condone physical abuse or slavery shows you know less about me than you could learn by one phone call.”

It was also alleged that Holley had secretly recorded a video meeting with herself, Newman and the university’s Global Head of Diversity Recruiting Reggie McGahee wherein the latter allegedly referred to the student as “the most hated” student he had ever seen.

Meanwhile, the suit claimed Newman was not given an opportunity to defend himself as his camera and microphone were deactivated for the meeting while Holley reportedly said “mayo king” did not count as a racial slur.

Days after the video conference, a more than two-hour town hall was held with students where, according to the suit, students vented their frustration over Newman and repeatedly referred to Howard Law as “a black space.”

A panel was later appointed to review the situation and it was determined he would be expelled from the school for alleged disruptions.

In speaking with the Daily Mail, vice president and chief communications officer Frank Tramble asserted 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.”


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