Former FBI director James Comey faced loud protests throughout his speech at Howard University’s convocation ceremony Friday, as activists chanted and sang traditional African-American spirituals over his remarks.
The protests began immediately after Comey took the podium at the historically black university in Washington, D.C., As the ex-FBI director stood quietly, chants such as “no justice, no peace” and “get out James Comey, you aren’t our homie” filled the auditorium.
HUResist, an activist group on campus, tweeted earlier this week about why many students on campus were unhappy with the decision to bring Comey to campus. They cited FBI surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists as well as Comey’s claim that racial bias is not an epidemic within law enforcement.
After a few moments, Comey appealed to the crowd to let him speak without interruptions.
“I hope you’ll stay to listen to what I have to say. I just listened to you for 5 minutes,” he said.
The protests, however, continued, with protesters singing “We Shall Not Be Moved,” which was popularized as a protest song during the Civil Rights Movement.
“A conversation is where you speak and I listen, and then I speak and you listen, and we go back and forth and back and forth,” Comey said over the chants. “And at the end of a conversation, we are both smarter. I am here at Howard to try to get smarter, to try to be useful, to try to have healthy conversations.”