Biden to Deliver Morehouse College Commencement Address Amid Faculty Concerns

President Biden to deliver Morehouse College commencement address, sparking concerns among faculty over his stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict. The controversy reflects broader debates on international issues and their impact on the 2024 election.

Mahnoor Jehangir
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Biden to Deliver Morehouse College Commencement Address Amid Faculty Concerns

Biden to Deliver Morehouse College Commencement Address Amid Faculty Concerns

President Joe Biden is set to deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College's graduation ceremony on May 19, 2024, according to officials.

The announcement comes as Biden tries to shore up his appeal to young Black voters ahead of a potential rematch against former President Donald Trump in the 2024 election, with Georgia seen as a crucial battleground state for both campaigns.

However, the decision to invite Biden as the commencement speaker has generated apprehension among some Morehouse faculty members. Provost Kendrick Brown acknowledged receiving inquiries from concerned faculty and stated that a virtual meeting will be held on April 25 to address the issues. Some faculty members are worried that administrators expect them to join students in protesting Biden during the ceremony.

The pushback against Biden's selection as commencement speaker comes amid growing protests on college campuses over his support for Israel in its ongoing conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Commencement season is typically an opportunity for presidents to reach young audiences, but Biden's addresses this year are expected to be contentious due to the protests over his refusal to call for a permanent, immediate cease-fire in Gaza without conditions.

Why this matters: The controversy at Morehouse reflects broader debates and activism surrounding international conflicts and the political positions of government leaders, particularly among younger demographics and minority voters. As the 2024 presidential campaign season approaches, Biden's ability to energize and win support from key voter blocks, such as young Black voters, could be vital to his re-election prospects.

Despite the faculty concerns, Morehouse College has stated that it does not plan to rescind its invitation to President Biden, which was initially extended in September 2023. In 2022, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Atlanta University Center, which includes Morehouse, to promote voting rights legislation. Biden's appearance at the historically Black college for men could be significant as Black voter turnout is expected to play a crucial role in the upcoming presidential election.

Key Takeaways

  • Biden will deliver Morehouse College's commencement address in May 2024.
  • Decision generates apprehension among some Morehouse faculty over Biden's policies.
  • Protests on college campuses over Biden's stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict are expected.
  • Biden's ability to energize young Black voters crucial for the 2024 re-election.
  • Morehouse College to host Biden despite faculty concerns, citing voting rights promotion.