Log in Subscribe

Morehouse College Students Express Concerns Over President Biden as 2024 Commencement Speaker

As the academic year nears its end, students at Morehouse College, a historically black men's college in Atlanta, grapple with a complex issue: the selection of President Joe Biden as the commencement speaker for the class of 2024. While the prospect of a sitting U.S. president addressing their graduating class is undoubtedly significant, concerns have been raised among the student body regarding President Biden's stance on the Israel-Gaza conflict and its implications for their graduation ceremony.

The decision to invite President Biden has sparked a spirited debate on campus, with students expressing a range of opinions and emotions. At the heart of the matter is the recent escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza, which has resulted in civilian casualties and widespread destruction. President Biden's response to the conflict, characterized by some as insufficient condemnation of Israeli actions and a perceived lack of support for Palestinian rights, has left many students feeling uneasy about his role as their commencement speaker.

For some students, the prospect of President Biden addressing their graduating class is a source of pride and excitement. They view his presence as a symbol of progress and hope, representing the highest office in the country and a beacon of leadership for marginalized communities. However, others are troubled by what they see as a disconnect between President Biden's rhetoric on social justice issues and his administration's policies toward the Israel-Gaza conflict.

One Morehouse College student, ‘24, articulated the concerns shared by many of his peers: "As a black man attending Morehouse, I have always been taught to stand up for justice and speak out against oppression. It's disheartening to see President Biden's administration not taking a stronger stance on the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. How can we celebrate our graduation with someone who doesn't fully support the values we hold dear?"

The debate over President Biden's commencement address has also reignited discussions about the role of universities in engaging with political leaders and the responsibilities that come with such engagements. While commencement speakers are often chosen for their achievements and contributions to society, some students argue that honoring President Biden sends a message of tacit approval for his administration's policies, including those related to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

In response to these concerns, student organizations at Morehouse College have organized town hall meetings and open forums to facilitate dialogue and debate. These discussions have provided students with a platform to voice their opinions, share their perspectives, and engage in meaningful conversations about the intersection of politics, social justice, and education.

Despite the divisions within the student body, Morehouse students have a prevailing sense of unity and solidarity as they navigate these challenging discussions. Many are committed to ensuring that their voices are heard and that their concerns are taken seriously by college administrators.

As the commencement ceremony approaches, the question of President Biden's suitability as the keynote speaker remains unresolved. While some students are calling for his invitation to be rescinded, others are advocating for his address to be an opportunity for dialogue and reflection on the complexities of leadership and social justice.

Ultimately, the controversy surrounding President Biden's invitation highlights the importance of open and respectful dialogue within academic communities. It serves as a reminder that the pursuit of knowledge and the quest for justice are inherently intertwined and that universities have a crucial role to play in fostering critical thinking and civic engagement among their students.
Protests over the Israel-Gaza conflict have rippled beyond Morehouse College, resonating with students at institutions across the United States. Xavier University of Louisiana recently made headlines by canceling their 2024 commencement speaker, United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, amid concerns over her stance on the issue. Similarly, at Duke University and Virginia Commonwealth University, students have expressed dissent by walking out of commencement ceremonies as a symbolic act of protest. These actions reflect a broader sentiment among students demanding accountability and solidarity with oppressed communities, underscoring the interconnectedness of global politics and campus activism.
Morehouse College, Students, Concerns, President Biden 2024 Commencement Speaker


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here