Phylicia Rashad Faces Backlash For Comments About Howard Protests

Phylicia Rashad

Photo: Getty Images

Legendary actress Phylicia Rashad has angered several students at her alma mater, Howard University.

Over the weekend, she was spotted on campus with her sister, Debbie Allen. Allen appeared to be speaking with students who were protesting poor housing conditions across the Howard University campus when bystanders began recording her. After spending time with students, Allen met up with her sister and a reporter appeared to approach them to ask questions about the "Blackburn Takeover" protest movement.

“In any country when the students don’t speak out, the nation is not doing well,” Allen said as she stood next to her sister in front of the Fine Arts Building.

“When the students do speak out and they have been heard, and their concerns have been addressed and it’s still not enough, what about that?” Rashad asked rhetorically.

“Oh well that’s a whole ‘nother thing. So are their concerns being addressed?” Allen fired back.

“Ok let’s come inside. I wouldn’t get into that if I were you,” Rashad said before pulling her sister into the Fine Arts Building.

As expected, Rashad's assertion angered several students.

This is not the first time that Rashad has angered members of the Howard University community in recent memory. Shortly after being named the dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, Rashad publicly celebrated the release of Bill Cosby.

“Finally! A terrible wrong is being righted—a miscarriage of justice is corrected," Rashad tweeted.

“She should not feel comfortable to immediately release her personal relief of someone who she considers a friend, but who was convicted of crimes against women. Without concern she openly supported him without considering the institution she has graduated from, and now represents and women who have been victimized," Howard University graduate Sheryl Wesley told NBC News.

"I think it’s good that Phylicia Rashad spoke up and showed us she’s not qualified to be the Dean of the College of Fine Arts. It’s really on Howard to do the right thing and rectify the situation," fellow Howard University graduate Andrew Addison added.

The backlash created from Rashad's tweet prompted the university to issue a statement.

“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority,” the university said in at statement obtained by The Guardian.

“While Dean Rashad has acknowledged in her follow-up tweet that victims must be heard and believed, her initial tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault.”

This time around, Howard University's administration has opted not to release a response to Rashad's comments.

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