Howard U. looks ahead to when Harris takes office as vice president

When Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes office next week, her alma mater will continue to celebrate her place in U.S. history.

“She will be the most influential vice president of the 49 that we’ve had,” Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick said during an online event hosted by the school Tuesday.

His bold prediction stems from the role Harris will play as president of the U.S. Senate, since Democrats will control the White House, the House of Representatives and — with Harris’ tiebreaking vote — the Senate.

“The power in politics is from influence” and, Frederick said, Harris’ will be substantial. “I think, for that reason, she could potentially be the most influential vice president in our history.”

The Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on the school’s D.C. campus will ring its bell 49 times to honor Harris, who will be the nation’s 49th vice president, but Frederick said he wasn’t ready to reveal details.

Howard University is working with law enforcement to keep the campus secure around its 1986 graduate’s big moment after last week’s deadly U.S. Capitol attack.

Frederick said the university “will be taking measures” to protect the campus, even with “very few” students around as the school is in hybrid mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration is Wednesday, Jan. 20, with heightened security around the area after the Jan. 6 insurrection. D.C.’s mayor and the governors of Maryland and Virginia have urged people not to travel to the District and instead enjoy the inauguration virtually.

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