Some Washingtonians and Howard University students are somewhat confused by University President Wayne A.I. Frederick’s naming former FBI head James Comey as the 2017-2018 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy.
“There is no bigger person who is in opposition to Donald Trump – the sitting President — than Comey, so while it may appear like a good thing for students to learn policy from him, his appointment raises other flags for me,” Jeff Canady, a Howard alumnus told the AFRO. “Comey’s relationship, historically, to the FBI and its relationship to Blacks needs to also be examined a bit more fully.”
However, others welcome the move as a step forward for students and the university.
Comey, who served as the seventh director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Barack Obama, will also serve as Howard’s Opening Convocation keynote speaker this year.
“I am pleased to welcome Mr. Comey to Howard,” said Frederick in a statement. “His expertise and understanding of the challenges we continue to face today will go a long way in sparking rich discussion and advancing meaningful debates across campus.”
Trump fired Comey on May 9 after he reportedly refused to investigate and bring charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using her family’s private e-mail server for official communications.
Comey’s tenure at Howard includes facilitating five lectures, which will coincide with the release of his highly-anticipated memoir (still untitled), which is set to be published by Flatiron Books in the Spring of 2018.
“His book promises to take us inside those extraordinary moments in our history, showing us how these leaders have behaved under pressure,” Bob Miller, the president and publisher of Flatiron Books, said in a statement. “By doing so, Comey will give us unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in leadership itself.”
Comey said he was honored to hold the appointment at Howard.
“Howard has a longstanding history of being a vibrant academic community and the perfect place to have rich dialogue on many of the most pressing issues we face today,” Comey said in a statement. “I look forward to contributing to this remarkable institution and engaging students and faculty alike.”