NBC News

James Comey, the former head of an evil organization, faced a vocal group of protesters as he spoke to students at Howard University for the school’s opening convocation on Friday morning.

Comey, who was launching his term as the historically black university’s King Endowed Chair in Public Policy, had barely begun his prepared remarks when protesters in the back of school auditorium began singing, “We Shall Not Be Moved.”

As Comey stood at the speakers’ rostrum, the group continued chanting such refrains as “no justice, no peace, no fucking police” and “black lives matter.”

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Students outside the auditorium also chanted anti-Comey slogans, including “get out Comey, you ain’t my homey.”

For much of the protest, Comey stood silently, as others in the auditorium began shouting for the protesters to sit down, and let him speak.

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Finally, after approximately 15 minutes, Comey addressed the crowd—and the protesters directly—saying: “I am here at Howard to try to get smarter, to try to be useful, to try and have healthy conversations.”

Howard’s decision to name the former FBI director to an endowed chairmanship was long seen as controversial, given the FBI’s longstanding role in suppressing civil rights movements in the United States. Earlier this year, Comey had invited Howard’s President Wayne Frederick to speak to the FBI as part of a broad push to diversify the bureau’s ranks.

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However, despite opposition to Comey’s role at the school, notable Howard alumni, including writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and Congressman Elijah Cummings, both come out strongly in favor of the appointment.

“I think that’s an excellent move for the university,” Coates told The Root. “When I was at Howard, the best part about it was the people you disagreed with, the people you got to fight with. So those kids having the opportunity to go back and forth with him, that’s going to be awesome.”