Howard University Marks 150th Anniversary Amid Concerns Aimed at School's President

On March 2, 1867, President Andrew Johnson approved the charter that established Howard University

On a day of celebrations for Howard University's 150th anniversary, students voiced their concerns over the school president's relationship with the Trump administration.

President Wayne Frederick, along with presidents of historically black colleges throughout the country, met with President Trump on Monday. Hours later, someone spray painted “Welcome to Trump's Plantation. Overseer Wayne A.I. Frederick” on a campus pathway.

"It's a very hostile environment right now," said student Jada Watts.

Some students were also opposed to Frederick recently meeting with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

During the school's Charter Day convocation, a ceremony usually filled with celebration, there was tension as students protested Frederick's meetings with the Trump administration.

Some said they feel blindsided and are calling for Frederick to be more transparent.

"I just feel like he needs to communicate with us better considering we are the students attending this university," Watts said.

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Others disagreed with the protests.

"Disappointing that student chose to do that during this occasion and... I would charge students to do some research and explore the unique relationship that Howard has with the federal government," said Pierre Whatley, an alumnus of the university.

Gregory Carr, the chairman of the Department of African American Studies said student protests embody the spirit of Howard University.

"So what the students are doing today is in a long tradition of student protests and no, it isn't always comfortable and yes, sometimes there's overreach," Carr said.

The university said Frederick is listening to students and has met with every student organization that has requested to sit down with him. Frederick will continue to update students about campus business through emails, the university said.

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