Protesters on Friday interrupted former FBI Director James Comey’s convocation address to Howard University.
A group of roughly 20 students chanted down Comey throughout his speech, Politico reported. Seated near the back of the auditorium, protesters chanted “no justice, no peace,” “f— Jim Comey,” and “get out Jim Comey, you’re not our homie.”
Comey once tried unsuccessfully to quiet the protesters.
“I hope you’ll stay to listen to what I have to say, and I just listened to you for five minutes,” Comey said.
“I love the enthusiasm of the young folks, I just wish they would understand what a conversation is,” Comey said at another point. “A conversation is where you speak and I listen, and then I speak and you listen. And then we go back and forth and back and forth. And at the end of a conversation, we’re both smarter. I am here at Howard to try to get smarter, to try to be useful, to try to have healthy conversations.”
“Howard University has always been different which is why I wanted to be a part of it,” Comey said of the historically black college, as protesters continued to chant.
“There is simply too little time taken in the rest of the real world to reflect, to think, to try to reshape the world and yourself,” Comey said. “The rest of the real world is a place where its hard sometimes to find people who will listen with an attitude that they might actually be convinced of something. Instead, what happens in the rest of the real world – and about four rows in this auditorium – is that people don’t listen at all, they just try to figure out what rebuttal they’re going to offer when you’re done speaking. Sometimes they will pause briefly before telling you you’re an idiot.”
The crowd of about 1,500 people, mostly students and faculty, according to Politico, were divided on the protest. Audience members even chanted back “let him speak.”
Comey’s speech was the first of several he’s set to deliver at the university during the 2017-2018 school year.