WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A group of Howard University students is defending the president of the country's flagship historically black college -- and erasing graffiti that accused him of selling out to President Trump.
Dr. Wayne Frederick was among the leaders of predominantly African American colleges and universities who met with Mr. Trump at the White House. Some of the graffiti called him an "overseer" on Donald Trump's "plantation."
Frederick sent out a message to the community saying that while he respects freedom of expression, he considers this graffiti vandalism, and he says he'll do whatever it takes to stop it.
A volunteer group of graduate students applied bleach and detergent to the spray paint in an effort get the last bit off. Kendrick Peters says it reminds him of the graffiti racists spayed at his college in North Carolina, seven years ago when he was an undergraduate. "They had, "We don't want any blacks. And now I'm doing this for a historically black President. So the irony is so interesting."
Even some of the students cleaning up the mess are skeptical of President Trump's motives.
"I most definitely believe in exploitation, right," said Anjerrika Bean, a graduate student in sociology. But she says vandalizing your own college is the wrong way to deal with a political dispute. "We know our president is not a c@#%!," she said, using the perjorative term for sellout that one of the vandals had used. "And we know he's not an overseer."
There are many students though who disagree with Frederick's tactics as he tries to right a 150 year old institution that's struggling financially and dependent on federal aid.
"He's very dismissive of student concerns. The only things that have ever gotten through to him are things that mess with Howard's image," said Caroline Tyson, who said Dr. Frederick blew her off when she went to him last year with concerns about how she would pay her tuition.
Dr. Frederick says he'll be meeting with students over the next several weeks to try and hammer out a plan to move forward.
Investigators are still looking for the vandals. You'd have to sandblast to get all that paint off the sidewalk.
President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday he says will make historically black colleges and universities a priority. It moves a federal initiative to help the schools out of the Education Department and into the White House.