Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick Says Creating Safe Spaces at Historically Black Colleges and Universities Can be Counterproductive in Helping to Advance Their Cause

President of Howard University Dr. Wayne Frederick speaks at the National Action Network convention in New York City on Friday April 5, 2019. | Photo: The Christian Post/Leonardo Blair

Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick suggested Friday that creating safe spaces at historically black colleges and universities can be counterproductive if it means disengaging from partners who can advance their cause.

Frederick made the point during a panel discussion on the future of historically black colleges and universities at the National Action Network’s annual convention with presidents of several other HBCUs, including: David Wilson of Morgan State University, Phyllis Worthy Hawkins of Bennett College, Roslyn Artis of Benedict College and Herman Felton Jr., of Wiley College.

“Howard’s first motive when it was founded in 1867 was equal rights and knowledge for all …. When Howard University was founded in 1867, the 17th president of the United States, a known racist, Andrew Johnson, was the one who signed that charter. The same day he signed the charter to start Howard University he vetoed a reconstruction act,” Frederick noted.

The prominent HBCU leader made an apparent connection with the current political climate without naming President Donald Trump, who is repeatedly branded as racist by political foes and former associates.

“My point is that we have to be at the table,” he argued. “If the men who started Howard University did not go to the table and insist that that president sign that particular charter despite his racist views, we would not be in existence today. And we are at a time in our country where we are often talking about safe spaces … but I want us all to think about something,” he continued.

The term safe space, is commonly associated with universities, but includes other locations like workplaces, where people who feel marginalized can come together and share their experiences of being a part of the marginalized community.

Activism for safe spaces, which remains a controversial concept, is driven primarily from the separatist impulses associated with the politics of identity on many college campuses, the Los Angeles Times said. Some people believe that safe spaces insulates them from not just hostility, but the views of people who are not like them.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair