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Howard University faculty and administrators released a scathing letter last week calling for the ouster of HU president Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, saying that his “presidency is failed and represents a dark and shameful moment in Howard’s history.

The undated letter, which copied members of the Washington Post, New York Times, U.S. News and World Report as well as organizations such at the United Negro College Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank, was signed by “Concerned Howard University Administrators, Faculty and Staff.”

An asterisk by the writers notes that they chose to remain anonymous because of fear of reprisals from Frederick and his provost, Dr. Anthony K. Wutoh.

The 16-page letter begins, “Howard University President Wayne Frederick has severely compromised [Howard] University’s historic mission, legacy and future. His unusually pliable notions about ethics and integrity have made the University vulnerable to allegations of faculty and staff intimidation and harassment; created a hostile workplace; and subjected the University to scrutiny by external authorities to whom the University submits accreditation reports, institutional data, and budget finance reports.

And it just gets worse.

The letter claims that Frederick has not submitted a strategic plan, has had the University’s credit rating downgraded, and is not supported by students or faculty—and the bulk of the tome outlines five questions, which the letter says Frederick of having “lie-answered.”

These include questions around the school no longer being ranked in the top 100 colleges/universities by U.S. News & World Report; the school’s financial status; the school’s declining enrollment; the school’s strategic plan; and the faculty staff and student morale.

Frederick, who according to the letter, was appointed interim president of Howard in October 2013, and appointed to the presidency since July 2014, has in recent weeks has also had students question his motives and actions, including protests on campus and a rebuff from the student body president when Frederick hosted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the historic HBCU in mid-February.

In the last few weeks, there has also been a rash of student graffiti (and a “resist” banner hung from a university building) on campus disparaging Frederick, and calling him an “overseer” who “hates Black people,” which the letter addresses: “Sadly, the graffiti assessments about Frederick which were strewn across campus are true. He is ineffectual and autocratic and unable to clearly articulate a commitment to Black uplift.”

The authors call for the Board of Trustees to identify a new president with “proven and effective higher education administrative ability, stature on Capitol Hill and a “respectful regard for faculty” to replace Frederick, who they have obviously lost confidence in.

“The only discernable direction that the University has taken under Frederick is down (including credit downgrades, challenged cash flow, decreased student enrollment, high turnover of senior level administrators and cabinet members, disintegrating faulty and staff morale, growing student discontent and negative press.) Further, there has been a considerable reduction in the University’s footprint and vigor due to the slash and burn fiscal strategy pursued by Frederick.”

So far, the president has not offered any response on record.

Access the entire letter here.

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Howard U. Prez ‘Unfit To Lead’ According to Letter Sent To Media was originally published on

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7 thoughts on “Howard U. Prez ‘Unfit To Lead’ According to Letter Sent To Media

  1. Dr. Larry on said:

    Nobody in the DC area is hiring Howard graduates with the likes of Georgetown, American, Catholic U, Maryland, George Mason, etc… It’s essentially a worthless piece of paper, and soon to lose it’s accreditation.

  2. specialt757 on said:

    The real “H.U.” (sorry Hampton U) used to be a very prestigious University and people died to get in, and it’s also in my home town, so I have a special fondness, I hate to see it in this position. I hope it changes for the better whether by new leadership or current, I hoping for it’s success.

  3. specialt757 on said:

    Arthur, I can see your point and it very well could be a power struggle. However, I think that it didn’t get this bad over-night with Dr. Frederick. I think that the staff and administration and students have had communications with him prior to, and this is the final straw. See it would be different had he come in and change the climate and the direction of the downward spiral he inherited, but he didn’t. He would be held on a pedestal if he had. I’m not defending one way or the other, but this was his chance to “shine” and make a difference and according to this letter, he failed. These people are unhappy and he doesn’t seem to be doing enough to change things with the staff, students or the ratings.

    • Arthur Childress on said:

      Specialt.. You seem to be more familiar with this story than me. And, you’re right. It appears Dr. Frederick was ok with the “status-quo” and really did very little to move the program forward. You have my deference.

  4. Diane on said:

    Damn if all of this is going on, maybe he should go. It almost sound like another unqualified prez that needs to go. Just saying.

    • Arthur Childress on said:

      Not defending Dr. Frederick Diane, but, he kind of walked into a mess. When he took over from Sidney Ribeau, the former Prez. the school had dropped in national ratings…, it’s credit rating had been down-graded…and enrollment was down 7 percent. Enrollment has risen 5 percent since 2014 when Fredrick took over.

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